There is absolutely nothing wrong with a throw down game to pass an enjoyable hour or two, just rolling dice and pushing the metal or plastic around the table. It is after all why most of us research, buy, assemble, paint and base our figures. Watching them successfully smite or run from the enemy, depending on how the dice god feels at the time of course.
The Marquis of Newcastle's 'Lambs' defending a ruined church against the Parliamentarians.
The ominous sight of approaching enemy musketeers. The English Civil War.
As much as I enjoy those throw away type battles, I am always looking for what happened before, the circumstances and maneuvering that led to this battle, and what will happen after. In our throw down games, this is of little consequence, but if the battle was part of a larger affair, then the result could be critical for both sides.
The Union Army of the Potomac ready to march.
The answer could well lay in a campaign game, it does entail a lot of preparatory work, which you may or may not have the time, or the wish to undertake. You also need an opponent, or do you? more of this in a future part, who is happy to give up a substantial part of his or her time also. There will be a need for record keeping throughout the campaign, which again, could put a lot of people off.
A heavily protected supply wagon ready to hit the road in a Wars of the Roses battle.
The wargaming legend Don Featherstone, captured my imagination with his book, Wargaming Campaigns. It contains many ideas and also some examples of possible campaigns. The one that always appealed to me was his ideas for 'Jackson in the Valley,' a campaign game based on that epic series of battles in 1862 in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.
A Greenspan map of the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War.
I decided to create a campaign game, based on the writings of Featherstone. Though I have chosen to draw a fictitious map on which to move and fight my armies. For anyone choosing to fight a campaign, a map is probably the very first consideration,be it real or imaginary.
My campaign map measures 96 miles from top to bottom (north to south) and 54 miles east to west. Each square measures 3 miles top to bottom and left to right and therefore contains 9 square miles. (More of this map in future postings)
The next thing to decide is the purpose of the whole campaign. As mine is based on Jackson's exploits, then three Union divisions are tasked with finding and either destroying Jackson's force, or driving it southward off the map. Whilst also making sure that Jackson does not slip past them and exits the northern map edge.
Jackson will have a corps, consisting of just two divisions, so is immediately outnumbered 3-2 if, and it is a big if, the Union can find him and concentrate all their forces against him in a large battle. Jackson's brief is to tie down as many Union troops as he can, for as long as he can, without his force being destroyed.
The gamer now needs an Order of Battle (OOB) for each force, movement rates for the map, weather conditions, temperature, dawn and sunset plus a number of other factors.
I shall show those and give my reasoning behind them in the next article in this series.
I will leave you with some photographs of previous battle using my 6mm ACW armies, hopefully they will whet your appetite for more of the same when the campaign begins.