BLB2 in a campaign

Any questions relating to Beneath the Lily Banners rule system.
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Justin Penwith
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BLB2 in a campaign

Post by Justin Penwith » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:32 pm

Gents,


It has been a while, for various reasons, since I've been able to frequent this board. However, opportunities have arisen, as of late, which let me once again lurk and occasionally post.

I am in the final stages of preparation for beginning my long awaited 1708 imagi-nation campaign and after a few intro games for some of the players who had not played previously, I am seeing some potential problems for the future.

Essentially, I want to have varied deployments and battlefield objectives which will help avoid a consistent series of set-piece battle for my players. "Set up 12" from your table edge and GO!" seems a bit stilted. So, here I am looking for suggestions for or even directions to a source of solutions to that end.

1)
As it stands now, my campaign requires each player to organize his military and create, by die rolls, the stat abilities for his generals. Here is a brief run-down of what is pertinent to BLB2 rules (as they are the tactical rules for the campaign):

Skill - determines the tactical competence of the general (plodder, etc.)

Initiative - strategic level determiner if the general will attack when ordered to do so or take matters into his own hands and attack without orders.

The problem with initiative is that since BLB2 is a game of simultaneous order placement and movement, it has no real value for tabletop games.

My current line of thinking is that initiative tie into the pre-battle phase, of terrain set up and figure placement.

Courage - Determines whether or not a leader (general or even regimental colonel) will join a unit in close combat in a battle or assault on a BUA.

Health - When a leader is a casualty, a die is rolled for wound severity, resulting in either death, critical wound, serious wound, or minor wound. The latter three results subtract from the health stat (also removes character from table for that battle and potentially other battles) for that character; when a character reaches 0 health, he dies.

I am content with how I have associated Skill, Courage, and Health, but not fully satisfied with Initiative. I want that skill to be of value at the tactical level, but am running into a wall with it. So, please, if you have suggestions, share them.

2)
As for battlefield objectives, I am wanting more than a couple of ways for battles to be resolved (50% of units routed, player decides to retreat).

The player-nation armies are already fairly small. Few will have more than a dozen battalions and six to eight squadrons, in total. At least, to start with. However, they can seek the loan of troops from the major powers, and from each other. So, the desire to limit one's losses is already built in as a factor.

However, I don't want all of the decisions left up to the players. There needs to be some level of unpredictability so that significantly smaller armies stand a chance of winning a battle, else the players will always retreat smaller armies.

What I am considering is to add a number of battlefield objective markers for each side, during a battle. These would be placed by each commander, prior to writing his overall battleplan. Each marker would have a value of -1, -2, or -3, which represents a negative morale impact on whichever side is not currently in possession.

For example, Side A is defending a hilltop which has a -2 marker on it. Now, Side B counts has having 2 units routed for the purpose of fulfilling the optional Army Morale Check on page 69 of the rulebook.

OR

Another thing I was thinking of doing was taking the Army Morale Check to a d10 and then modifying the roll result based on the Courage of the leader (a range of -3 to +3) and the value of any objective marker his enemy currently possesses, still needing the required number (not posting it as it is in the rulebook) or less to fail.

Again, any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

Note: I have Donnybrook on backorder with a US supplier, so we will be using those rules for whatever skirmish games we end up playing in the campaign.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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barr7430
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Re: BLB2 in a campaign

Post by barr7430 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:12 am

All sounds good Justin. Just a couple of points to perhaps calibrate against:

BLB is simultaneous movement but the idea of initiative is taken into consideration through variable movement allowance each turn which is modified by the ability of the commanders. It is very rarely that both sides move everything every turn. A good commander with reasonable die throws will invariably have more scope for initiative.

The scenarios (7) listed in Donnybrook can themselves be scales up to battle sized in most cases.. just a thought
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Justin Penwith
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Re: BLB2 in a campaign

Post by Justin Penwith » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:36 pm

barr7430 wrote:BLB is simultaneous movement but the idea of initiative is taken into consideration through variable movement allowance each turn which is modified by the ability of the commanders. It is very rarely that both sides move everything every turn. A good commander with reasonable die throws will invariably have more scope for initiative.
Barry, yes I had considered this as being a part of the whole.

What I am using initiative at the strategic level, a base for determining whether or not a general attacks an enemy in passing, or follows through with an order to attack, I am happy with.

Yet, I would like the characteristic to also have an effect on the tactical side. Since I have SKILL covering the tactical command side of things, this leaves initiative in the cold.

I think what I must do is allow higher initiative generals the choice of terrain (or most of it), and choice of table edge, reflecting their using initiative in positioning the enemy where they want them prior to battle commencing. Still, if the opponent feels the scales are against them, they can still elect to retreat and deal with the consequences.

We're looking forward to Donnybrook. A couple of the players caught the article in Wargames Illustrated and were highly intrigued by it.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Rohan Wilmott
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Re: BLB2 in a campaign

Post by Rohan Wilmott » Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:03 am

Hello, Justin.

I am really enjoying your recent posts, as I intend (hopefully in the not too distant future) to indulge in a similar imagi-nation campaign. (My last such escapade was a decade ago with 15mm Napoleonics!) Your battle report on Ottomans vs Swedes on your blog (I don't do Google ID, Facebook, etc for professional reasons so will respond here :) ) was great. I will follow your blog especially as the Ottomans sound intriguing, and your "after action" ideas are good food for thought. My apologies in advance if I am giving advice about things that you have already done.

As a starter, I would refer you to Henry Hyde's excellent "The Wargaming Compendium" in which he has chapters on setting up campaigns. His blogsite is also worth a visit http://henrys-wargaming.co.uk/
The wars of the Faltenian Succession appear in the first 12 issues of his Battlegames magazine and are well worth a read, though most of it is in the compendium. You may already be aware of this as his ideas on characterising leaders and significant campaign personalities are very similar to the ones you mention.

I would also refer you to the excellent works of Charles Grant & Charles S Grant on this subject - with some tinkering, their ideas (as well as Henry Hyde's) on campaigns in the mid 18th century can be adapted to Barry's rules and the BLB era. "The War Game" & "The War Game Companion" are their basic rules with some campaign advice; CSG's imagi-nation campaign books "The Raid on St Michel", "The Annexation of Chiraz", "The Wolfenbuttel War" and others in same series are truly inspiring and then there is the Wargaming in History series, "Scenarios for Wargamers", etc

More specifically, as far as getting players to reach an end point in a specific battle within a campaign setting - I feel that generally the campaign setting, as in real warfare, should dictate the end - casualties, strategic & basic economic considerations that need to be considered for the next battle.

This is why basic campaign goals should be set, and realistic casualty & morale effects carried forward to the next game.

Your idea of specific battle objectives has merit. These could be capturing a vital crossroad, the enemy pay chest, the artillery or supply train, the enemy leader's mistress, etc, etc. A game end point will largely be dictated by the background narrative for the campaign, not the artificial endpoints set in the rules that are necessary for one-off games.

However, consideration must be given to what "flesh & blood will endure". So basic morale rules that necessitate withdrawal after so many casualties in a unit and an army, fatigue, disorganisation, loss of leaders, etc should also apply.

In the end, friendly discussion between players, and an umpire if available, to determine a relistic endpoint is also a "good thing". After all, if its's not fun & friendly, you should probably be doing something else :wink: !!

CSG's imagi-nation campaign books mentioned above are excellent as inspiration for this. They are a series of connected battles that make up a campaign scenario, an excellent starting point, as it removes the odium of detailed economics. I really recommend these as a starting point for anyone contemplating campaign style gaming.

Best wishes and Happy Campaigning!

Rohan.
Justin Penwith
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Re: BLB2 in a campaign

Post by Justin Penwith » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:46 am

Rohan Wilmott wrote:Hello, Justin.

I am really enjoying your recent posts, as I intend (hopefully in the not too distant future) to indulge in a similar imagi-nation campaign. (My last such escapade was a decade ago with 15mm Napoleonics!) Your battle report on Ottomans vs Swedes on your blog (I don't do Google ID, Facebook, etc for professional reasons so will respond here :) ) was great. I will follow your blog especially as the Ottomans sound intriguing, and your "after action" ideas are good food for thought. My apologies in advance if I am giving advice about things that you have already done.

No sweat and I appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions. You will notice, on my blog, that there is a link to my 1708 Imagi-nation campaign blog and you can find the current draft of the campaign rules there. I have not edited those and I really need do reorganize the content layout, but you will see, in more detail, what I am working on.
Rohan Wilmott wrote:As a starter, I would refer you to Henry Hyde's excellent "The Wargaming Compendium" in which he has chapters on setting up campaigns. The wars of the Faltenian Succession appear in the first 12 issues of his Battlegames magazine and are well worth a read, though most of it is in the compendium. You may already be aware of this as his ideas on characterising leaders and significant campaign personalities are very similar to the ones you mention.
Yes, I do have most of the Battlegames issues which contained articles on the Faltenian Succession campaign; I highly recommend those as well. I admit I was quite inspired by his articles and they have heavily influenced parts of my campaign rules. In fact, I have asked him to consider publishing his artwork and maps for that campaign, which, in reply, he said he would think on.

At this time, and for the past while, I have been unable to purchase his book, but intend to do so when my job situation improves.
Rohan Wilmott wrote: I would also refer you to the excellent works of Charles Grant & Charles S Grant on this subject - with some tinkering, their ideas (as well as Henry Hyde's) on campaigns in the mid 18th century can be adapted to Barry's rules and the BLB era. "The War Game" & "The War Game Companion" are their basic rules with some campaign advice; CSG's imagi-nation campaign books "The Raid on St Michel", "The Annexation of Chiraz", "The Wolfenbuttel War" and others in same series are truly inspiring and then there is the Wargaming in History series, "Scenarios for Wargamers", etc
I have often envied gentlemen gamers who have quoted from these books and I hope to eventually add them to my own library. Unfortunately, I am forced to be looking forward to do this for a while longer as yet.
Rohan Wilmott wrote:Your idea of specific battle objectives has merit. These could be capturing a vital crossroad, the enemy pay chest, the artillery or supply train, the enemy leader's mistress, etc, etc. A game end point will largely be dictated by the background narrative for the campaign, not the artificial endpoints set in the rules that are necessary for one-off games.
One of the things that often irritates me with one-off games is that players tend to make tactical decisions the merits of which rely on manipulating game mechanics instead of being based on sound military tactics.

Since BLB requires army commanders to write out short battle plans anyways, the idea of battlefield objectives made sense to me. I do intend to flesh this idea out in much greater detail, tying it in with my campaign rules. If you, or anyone else reading this, has suggestions, then I am more than ready to accept them.
Rohan Wilmott wrote:However, consideration must be given to what "flesh & blood will endure". So basic morale rules that necessitate withdrawal after so many casualties in a unit and an army, fatigue, disorganisation, loss of leaders, etc should also apply.
I agree, but I also think BLB does abstractly model some of this with the optional army morale rule. Still, I do wish to tinker with the "army break point" as 50% is just too high, in my view, for a campaign game. Which is partly why I am looking at the capture/defense of objectives as affecting that particular test.
Rohan Wilmott wrote:In the end, friendly discussion between players, and an umpire if available, to determine a relistic endpoint is also a "good thing".
I meet with about half of the slate of campaign participants every week, for our game nights, and I do talk to them about campaign and tactical rules that I am considering or am finalizing. They were a great deal of help with determining pros and cons of the governmental organizations, which are not yet in the current official draft, but will be soon.

I do appreciate you lengthy reply and hope you may share additional thoughts as they strike you.

Regards,

Justin
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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