Several days ago, there was some inquiry about and discussion of Tony Bath ‘s Setting Up a Wargames Campaign over at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group. Now, the subject of wargame campaigns is an interesting one about which much has been written. Just off the top of my head, we have Henry Hyde’s recently concluded series on his Wars of the Faltenian Succession in Battlegames, which certainly offers plenty of guidelines in running a fairly stress-free campaign. Bruce Quarrie's Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature also has lots of potentially useful information on campaigns, a point Henry mentioned in a number of his articles.
In addition, there was another book, I believe, by Charles S. Grant, which I must track down and read, on the same topic. And, of course, there is War Game Campaigns by Donald Featherstone, which I have on my shelf and enjoy periodically. Clearly, there’s a great deal to digest when it comes to developing a wargames campaign, even if we limit ourselves to just these few sources.
If you’re like me, though, the idea of an ongoing campaign is attractive, but the level of detail and effort required might seem a bit much. I mean the main point of wargaming is to get the soldiers painted and get ‘em to the table for a battle, right? Why bog yourself down unnecessarily and risk delaying table top events?
I’ve been pondering this question for a few days now, usually in the late afternoons when I retire with my Grand Duchy of Stollen notebook and a pencil to the bedroom for an afternoon nap (when we aren’t bicycling like maniacs – about 170 miles since last Sunday!). My question to you Stollen regulars is this: What is the bare minimum of detail necessary for a satisfactory (but interesting) 18th century campaign context, leading to a couple of BIG battles and a few smaller actions?
Before I fell asleep Friday afternoon, I considered this same matter and jotted a few things down in my notebook. Although I don’t want too much bookkeeping, I do like thinking about things like monarchs, generals, lovers, intrigue, scandal, currencies, and postal routes (Yes, I’m a hopeless nerd!). These are the sorts of things featured in my own Grand Duchy of Stollen project/campaign of the last 2 ½ years. I also jotted down additional campaign facets like these in the Grand Duchy of Stollen notebook before I drifted off yesterday:
* The Miniature Armies (ok, this is a given.) and Strategic Movement
* Countries/Territories/Principal Cities and Towns/Fortresses
* Agriculture/Natural Resources
* Reasons for War
* Expansion (Gaining/Regaining Key Provinces/Towns)
*Questions of Succession
* War Budget
* Loss/Replacement of Men or Equipment
* Logistics & Supply
* Lines of Supply/Communication
* Monetary & Postal Systems
* Agents & Espionage
Of course, all this is really rough, but it should give me enough peripheral stuff for an interesting and ongoing campaign. Is there anything else I should include in my campaign? Is there something vital that I’ve omitted? Or, is this too much detail, detracting from the table top battles? What are you opinions about wargaming campaigns and the associated details? Please, please tell me now!