Thursday, March 06, 2008

Campaign set up - part 2... where I left off, we'd got the map, loaded it into Berthier, set the terrain, and decided the movement rates for each troop type in that terrain. It suddenly struck me as I was cycling home last night though, that I'd not actually told you what the background to the campaign was!

Suffice to say that the peninsula depicted in the map is held by the Americans (myself), and is about to be invaded by the British (commanded by DG in the guise of that legend amongst - fictional - British generals of the American War of Independence, General the Honourable Harcourt Wade-Smith) who have a clear mission of one, occupying all major terrain features and two, destroying or dispersing all American opposition. with that, the next is to start adding some of that "fog of war" I mentioned.

  1. In the "Campaign Options" menu, Berthier allows you to define how accurate your reconnaissance reports are going to be, so that's my first opportunity to inject some uncertainty into the proceedings (and this affects both sides, so I'm not sure what I'm gloating about!) For this campaign I've set the value as 20% which means that the reports can be anything between 80 & 120% correct... by the by, you can also define what kind of reports you want - just numbers of troops, numbers and troop types, full report (with unit names) etc. As I was using option for percentage correct reports I went with just numbers...

    The second opportunity for uncertainty lies in the option entitled "Terrain Modifies Recon. Range". Berthier works out sightings based on a distance in squares from a unit (more on this in the next step), by ticking this option, the number of squares it takes into account is modified by whatever the terrain features are in the squares around the unit, so, if a unit is in the middle of a wood, or up a hill, or the wrong side of an impassible river, your recon range is considerably less (an in the case of seeing a unit just across that river, nil)... needless to say I have elected to include this option.

    ..and that's basically it on this screen - there are a couple of other options that you can also set but for this campaign neither was required. Supply is "off" (the likely length of the campaign is going to be such that supply will not be an issue), and I ignored the options for combat casualties (Berthier will fight your battles for you if you want, it just gives a result with casualties per side) as in this campaign we'll be playing all the battles on the tabletop and tracking rosters on paper.

  2. All that remains to be done now is add in the combat units for each side - Berthier can handle 18 "units" a side. The units can be anything you want - squads, platoons, battalions, regiments, brigades, corps, divisions, or even armies... in this game, certainly for the Americans I defined my units at the regimental level though it's fair to say that they'll be grouped into brigades by the end of the campaign.... hopefully... J

    At the same time you enter the unit you also define it's reconnaissance range, level of supply, and strength. The latter two I didn't bother with, as above supply is off, and as we're playing all battles on the table unit strength is not required. The recon range I set to be equivalent to movement range though - in essence then, a unit has the ability to "see" things within a single move of itself... the thinking here is that units on the march would always have some of their members off on the flank, or out front - this represents those individuals. It also gives cavalry an inherent ability to see further than other units (because their move is further), and therefore encourages their use in their traditional role... if I'd wanted more fog of war, then the shorter the recon range the more likely you are to blunder around trying to find the other guy!

    For this campaign the numbers of units are defined in the scenario, along with some specific rules on deployment for the Americans.. as mentioned before I'm not going to go into huge detail on what these are (you need to buy that book!), but in summary, the Americans are fewer in numbers and have specific requirements on deployment - DG is not aware of what these are, but he's been given a rough estimate of what numbers to expect (I've also told him he's not allowed to read the blog!)

...for anyone who fancys having their own attempt at this campaign - then I have saved a "blank" version of my Berthier Campaign file here (just click) This contains the whole of the campaign with the exception of the OOB's for the Blue and Red forces - but that's OK, because I'm guessing you would want to use your own forces anyway... all you then need is a copy of Berthier, which you can get from the links to the left (under resources). Berthier by the way is a DOS program, so it will run under Windows, and with a DOS emulator program I'm guessing it will also run under Linux (Jeff..J)

...and with that - the campaign is set, and I now await the British first move! I'll post further as the campaign progresses...


  1. Hi Steve,

    Great stuff, and I'm really enjoying your descriptions on how and why you are conducting the campaign.

    Just one question: if you don't put a unit strength into Berthier, how is it going to give recon reports?


  2. Hi Ed - the simple answer is that the unit strength doesn't effect their ability to do recon, but I think Berthier puts a default value of 1 in that field anyway... basically, the unit is there until you blank the field with their name in...

  3. OK. I thought the recon result was XX numbers of infantry, YY numbers of cavalry, etc. and then modified by the % reliability. If you don't put strength, I didn't think you would get any useful recon.

    I guess it will say the number of units, +- 20%


  4. Aha - see what you mean now, yes, in this instance with a default 1 you'll get number of units...

    ...if it's not confusing enough we could still change it in which case I'll go with SP's (as per my rules) :o))

  5. You've finally done it Steve, I'm now convinced that I need to give Berthier a go and try doing a solo campaign. I still need to get Grants book though.

    Excellent pair of articles, very helpful and inspiring.


  6. Very interesting read, please keep us informed on progress, Well as much as you are able to.