Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bluebear Jeff's linked Teaser challenge....

Over on Bluebear Jeff's blog, along with some decent news about his improving health, in a fit of pure genius he proposed an idea for us all to make up a linked campaign of three to seven teasers made up from Charles Grant's "Scenarios for Wargames"..

"Create a series of three to seven scenarios from Grant's "Scenarios for Wargames" that will make for a logical simple mini-campaign of linked scenarios.

You can even, if you like, make a "campaign tree". That is to build it in the format of "if Red won Scenario A, go to Scenario B . . . and if Blue won, go instead to Scenario C, etc.
"

Linking more than three is entirely possible, and as Jeff says, Charles Grant and Phil Olley have done it twice already with the "Raid on St Michel" and "The Annexation of Chiraz", but to do that is a bit of a work of genius as I've always thought that you would have to make way too many decisions on increasing/decreasing forces in order to make sure that the later teasers don't just become walkovers and a little boring...

I've decided to go with a linked series of three teasers, and I've tried to minimise the changes to forces as much as I possibly can, so the original forces will play through all three teasers - if you do play this and one of the teasers turns out to be hideously mis-balanced, feel free to modify in any way you feel fit... reinforcements for either side should be considered as entirely plausible!

So here's my idea for a linked series of three teasers...

Background

It is the summer of 1705, and "the French army commanded by Marshal Villeroy and the Elector of Bavaria having taken refuge behind their fortified lines, the Duke of Marlborough had formed a scheme for forcing these stupendous barriers and the first battalion of the ROYAL Regiment rejoined the army in time to take part in this splendid enterprise. The lines were menaced by a detachment on the south of the Mehaine which drew the greater part of the French army to that quarter and during the night of the 17th of July the allied army marched to its right and at four o clock on the following morning the leading regiments approached the works at Neer Hespen and Helixem" (from "The First, or Royal Regiment of Foot" by Richard J. Cannon

First Teaser

So we open the campaign with Teaser #9; "Attack on the Camp" (which is, as near or dammit, the "Dawn Attack" tabletop teaser available here)

I've fought this one with my American Civil War troops (with great enjoyment I might add...) but in summary, the French playing Blue are asleep in their camp little knowing that events further away have left them dangerously exposed. They have some cavalry vedette's out to act as lookout, but in the cold morning pre-light of dawn they are attacked by a substantial British force playing the part of Red...

The set up is as per the Teaser in the book with the single exception that the British get an additional regiment of infantry, and an additional squadron of cavalry...

You will need rules to allow for ready'ing of troops from sleep once they are aroused, time for orders to be transmitted through the camp, and any panic when troops try to escape across the bridge...  the tabletop teaser version of the scenario has some useful mechanics to cover this, plus some other mechanics that can also be used eg.:

  • All movement is at half move distance only, because of the pre-dawn darkness.
  • dice for when the the nearest outpost sees the British
  • if the main force reaches the camp before the outposts see them then the outposts are considered captured..
  • the alarm is triggered when the British force touches the edge of the camp, otherwise the vedette starts moving towards the camp (infantry rate) to raise the alarm on the turn indicated.
  • Once an outpost sees the enemy approaching, or the British reach the camp, it may be considered to be light enough for all units to move at normal speed.
  • The vedette must reach the camp area before any movement may begin in the camp.
  • From the point at which the outpost reaches the camp, the warning spreads inwards through the camp at the rate of x cm’s (I used 10) per period.
  • All movement within the camp area is half speed.
You get the idea..... it is wholly expected that the British should win this scenario - either comfortably or not, they will drive the French from their camp and start in pursuit... it is in their best interests to do this at as low a coast in casualties to them, and as high casualties to the French, as possible...

I also leave it to you as to whether you allow either side to recover casualties following the battle... in a campaign I use the Charles Grant "thirds" method - consider one third dead, one third heavily wounded, and one third lightly wounded.. because this is a pursuit only the one third considered lightly wounded are eligible to return to the standards, dice for them, and I would suggest a negative modifier for the French (to reflect that it is more difficult for them to get back given the British hopefully won this battle!)

Teaser 2

Escaping towards safety following the previous rude awakening, the French are moving through a valley when their commander realises that this is ideal terrain to turn and try to hold the British while word is passed to the main force that they are under attack and in urgent need of reinforcements, and so the scene is set for Teaser #3; "Holding Action (1)"

Forces are as per the end of the previous teaser, and should comprise enough for the British to push through and cause the French to lose due to the winning conditions of the Teaser. When setting the war-game "day" to govern the duration of the game, I would select mid-morning as the start.

Some minor modifications, the French are being hotly pursued so limit the extent/distance of the flank positions, and don't allow entrenchments/redoubts - within these limitations hidden units are fine.. to reflect the closeness of the chase consider giving the British the option to set up closer than you would normally but it goes without saying they will be in column of march..

It goes without saying that it is in the British forces very best interests to win this battle as quickly as possible, and at as low a cost in casualties to them, as possible... one of the joys of these campaign scenario's is that you are forced to make decisions about when to make possibly wasteful and extravagant manoeuvres - in a normal game you wouldn't think twice about the lives of your little metal men..

So if as expected the British do win then they push the French on, both sides recover any casualties, and we come to..

Teaser 3

It is entirely likely that you may need to give either side a few reinforcements for the final Teaser which is "Reinforcements in Depth (2)"; Teaser #16.

The French, exhausted and near end are told that reinforcements are on the way and that they must stop and hold at all costs...

Once again the Teaser is as per the book but you may need to modify the French reinforcements so as to maintain a meaningful ratio of forces - this may well mean that the French get reduced, or even no, reinforcements depending on how the British have done up until now....

I leave it to you to decide whether the British get any themselves, but preferably they shouldn't - the British commander should live (or die!) by his previous mistakes/losses..

...and that's it... I've filed this for a possible later game - maybe solo - as I still have the "Raid on St Michel" to finish, and the "Annexation of Chiraz" to start! If you play it, let me know how it turns out....

Thanks for the idea, Jeff... most enjoyable...

5 comments:

  1. Steve,

    Thanks, sir. It looks good.


    -- Jeff

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  2. Thank you Steve (and Jeff) - what a good idea. My campaigns tend to founder in the planning by wanting to include too much detail. Linking the teasers seems a great compromise.
    Best wishes
    Jim

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  3. Steve

    Great stuff, and you've beaten me on the march to Sawmill Village. I've posted my Barolo Campaign at

    http://singlehandedadmiral.blogspot.com/

    Cheers

    PD

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  4. Well done Steve - I have all these tents and Strelets Frenchmen in camp. It must be a sign.

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  5. I was going to start my campaign with an attack on camp and hurridly back pedalled. Now I'll have to try out the ACW version of your mini campaign.

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