Monday, September 28, 2020

First Blacklands War - The Second Week

A good deal has happened since the battles of the first week, as the Allies invade the Western Turcowaz Empire all along the northern and southern borders.  Not only has the Blacklands War escalated into an all-out attempt to conquer the whole of Turcowaz west of the Sea of Marmara, but there have been development in how this war is being run in solo-gaming terms.

Now, I have been keeping a journal of moves, current orders of battle, and anything else that might occur to me.  Battle maps I draw up on paper and transcribe onto this machine using Microsoft Paint.  On this occasion, rather than my usual style of narrative, I thought I might transcribe what is in my journal for this, the second week of the war.  I have added explanatory comments in italics here.

Week 2:

Developments during 2nd week of the Blacklands War.

Move order (decided by a die roll, 'draws' decided by a further roll):

  1. Black Mountains
  2. Chervenia
  3. Bejela
  4. Hellenia
  5. Turcowaz  
1.Black Mountains Army: Retreats into the Black Mountains territory.


I Army (in North Macedonia) :  Options
                            (a) March into East Macedonia
                            (b) Lay Siege to MONASTIR (* This will require some explanation; 
                                  see infra on Garrisons)
                            (c) March into Vardar  (to help II Bejela Army)
(I didn't subject this to a die roll, deciding that the able General Vasil Kutinchev would have gone to the help of an ally in difficulties.)
Attempts to join II Bejelan Army for battle vs II Turcowaz Army. Roll 1xD6
1- 4: Fights a separate battle (after action between Turcowaz and Bejela armies)
5:  Joins battle already being fought.
6:  Joins Bejela Army before battle.

Rolled 5: Reinforce on T(urn)4 of the battle (1D6 die roll).

I Chervenian Army on the march through difficult country.

II Army (in West Thrace): 
March into East Thrace to bring III Turcowaz Army to battle.

III Army
(in South Chervenia):
March into East Thrace.  Options (roll 1D6 to determine;
                              (1) Lay siege to (or storm) Adrianople

                              (2) Lay siege to (or storm) Midia
                              (3-5) Bring III Turcowaz Army to Battle
                              (6) Join II Army to fight III Turcowaz Army
If '6' rolled, then roll another D6 with the result:
                              (1) Armies combine before the battle
                              (2-5) + 1D6 = Turn number III Army arrives on battlefield.
(Would you believe it, this supposedly 'poor' commander rolled a '6', which meant he actually linked up with the other army.  The subsequent die roll was a 5 to which a third roll was added +4, so III Chervenian army arrives on the battlefield on Turn 9.  I really did stack the odds against armies linking up, but they went and did anyhow!  I had merely added in the possibilities as possibilities, not really expecting either to occur.  But both did.  What are the odds, eh?  Well, 17 to 1 against, actually...).

I Chervenian Army order of march - nearer column
leading.  This will determine table-top arrivals.


I Army (in Vardar): Retreats into Western Bejela.

II Army (in Vardar): Offers battle to II Turcowaz Army.

The small Bejelan II Army awaiting attack.

Army (in Thessaly): March into Central Macedonia

Fleet (in Athens {Piraeus}): Leaves port and sails into the North Aegean Sea.
(It was held that the march of IV Turcowaz Army towards East Macedonia opened the possibility of the Turcowaz navy arranging for the transport by sea of that army from Salonika to Ionople to help protect the imperial capital.  Hence the Hellenes opting to anticipate that possible threat.)


I Army
(in Kosovo): Marches into Vardar. 
(I would have liked to have taken a different route, but the move into North Abilonia took it too far out of the main theatres of war.  Where the borders of four provinces converge to a single point, I have held to be 'obviously' at some inaccessible spot, such as the top of a mountain.  So movement from a province to the one 'diagonally' opposite is not allowed.)
No Battle.  
(This is a hard decision, but partly influenced by this army's commander being of considerably less than stellar quality.  I did consider doing the same as for the other two prospective battles, but that seemed a bit too much of a stretch.  If I Army is to fight a battle in Vardar, it will be in Week 3.)

II Army (in Vardar): Attempt to march into North Macedonia, if it can get past II Bejelan Army.  (Will fight II Bejela if (when) intercepted.)

Turcowaz II Army - on its 
start line...

III Army
(in East Thrace): Defend East Thrace against all comers.  
(I probably ought to have subjected this to a die roll, the other option being to march into West Thrace to meet the larger of the invading armies there.  But at that point I hadn't come to a decision (or even considered) the matter of garrisons.)

IV Army (in Central Macedonia): March into East Macedonia.
(This army might have marched into North Macedonia to face the I Chervenian army there, and that might have been a very good option.  But I didn't really think of it, the Chervenians would have left  anyhow, and keeping East Macedonia open seemed desirable.  The order of moves does affect the development of events!)

Fleet (in Sea of Marmara): Refitting and preparing for sail.

BATTLES: Vardar, East Thrace.

Map of II Turcowaz Army's second battle;
The Battle of Stalacz.  

This was brought on by Bob Cordery's comment last time concerning how the Sultan might respond to the parlous strategic situation that has developed in the last week. How about a popular appeal, and recruiting volunteers to aid the vital capital? It later occurred to me that maybe he could have drawn upon his armies from the Empire in Asiatica. Instead, I reverted to something that had crossed my mind a while back, but I had made no decision concerning.

The decision has been made; every major city or fortified place gets a garrison:

1.  Provincial towns have garrisons of 16SP comprising:
     Commandant - 6SP
     2 Garrison Infantry units @ 4SP - 8SP
     1 medium gun - 2SP

2.  National Capitals have garrisons of 22SP comprising:
     Commandant - 6SP
     3 Garrison Infantry units @ 4SP - 12SP
     2 heavy guns @ 2SP- 4SP

3. The Imperial capital has a garrison of 28SP comprising:
     Commandant (possibly the Sultan in person, or more likely his Wazir) - 6SP
     4 Garrison Infantry units @ 4SP - 16SP
     3 heavy guns @ 2SP - 6SP
The only imperial capital is IONOPLE.

All garrison units count as average (garrison troops are not the highest quality, but have walls by way of protection).

The purpose of these garrisons is primarily to prevent invading armies simply walking in and taking possession. An invading army, then, facing a fortified place,  has two options: to attempt a storm, or to lay siege to the place.  

A storm will be played out as a normal battle.

A siege will allow a bombardment by besieging artillery, each week the guns attempting to breach the walls or inflict casualties. Only medium and heavy guns can knock a breach in the walls. Field guns can cause casualties to the garrison. It will be imagined that the attacking army will fortify its gun emplacements.  

Each week, each gun fires off it own SP number of dice. 
Field guns can only cause casualties, a roll of '6' being required.
Medium Guns may score casualties OR knock a hole in the wall, on a roll of '6' (attacker's choice).
Heavy guns will score a casualty AND knock a hole in the wall, on a roll of 6.
Garrison guns return fire and attempt to knock out besiegers guns or cause casualties.
Once the garrison's SP has been reduced by a third or more, the place will surrender.  The besieged place automatically surrenders if the commandant becomes a casualty.
Battle of Stalacz - from behind the lines of 
II Army, Turcowaz.




  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    This is turning into a real corker of a campaign, with lots of action ... and potential for all sorts of results.

    I think that your garrison rules work well, as does your use of options for each army. This has all the hallmarks of being a very bloody war before it is over ... and one wonders if the Turcowaz will be able to retain control of Inople by the end of it ... or will the erstwhile allies begin fighting amongst themselves before that happens.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob -
      After their early easy successes it is suddenly not looking too flash for the Turcowaz, is it? If III Army is forced into Ionople, that might make that place just too hard to knock over, but otherwise, the retention of anything is looking very problematic at the moment.

      I haven't fought the battles yet - the action at Stalacs is just beginning...
      Archduke Piccolo

  2. Another very interesting post Archduke - good to see how you record all this information. Thanks for sharing your Garrison Rules. They look like the sort of thing I could you in future Campaigns.

  3. Hi Maudlin -
    The garrison rules (especially siege) are just a quick set off the top of my head whilst I was typing up this article. No doubt there will be some occasion for them to be tested. It is doubtful that in this war the Allied National Capitals will ever come under threat, but, when thieves fall out...?
    Archduke Piccolo.