Campaign System sneak peek

I’ve had a few people ask for more information on the campaign system, how it works, what it is etc so here’s a few screen shots and some explanation of the theory behind what I’m trying to do. I’m borrowing heavily from Malcolm McCallum’s online system although I’ve made some different design and theory choices.

Screen shot 1

This shot shows the initial screen a player has when logging into the system. The left hand box allows him to select one or multiple units to send orders to. The two drop downs at the top on the right allow the player to select a final destination and an “intermediate”, or via town. These selections are made from the entire database, although the unit will only accept move orders where the destination is valid under the “Rule of Three”. Below the destination dropdowns are a drop down to select standing orders (To attack, to retire, to hold) with various ratios to allow a little more fine tuning. There’s also the option to force march, effectively moving two legs in a day but accumulating fatigue points by doing so, and to march to the sound of the guns, whereby the unit may become an elligible reinforcement for a battle in the adjacent town.
Not visible on the screenshot are the options available where the final destination is a garrisonable town, either a fortress or a regional capital. Here the player can select which unit to garrison with, and how many 6ths to use of its starting strength. (We picked 6ths since the french used 6 company battalions).

Screen shot 2

Here you can see an example of the type of message you receive when sending your own command a move order. All received messages are available in the list on the left with the option to delete them if no longer needed. The Sent messages is a similar layout allowing review of orders or messages to other commanders. Both screens allow sorting of the messages by date, sender/recipient.

Screen shot 3

Lines of Supply (LoS) are important within the campaign. This screen allows you to set up to 28 legs of communication from a depot, or to review and change an existing line. Players of the same side can share LoS, and from this screen can see the intended line of advance. Couriers use the LoS to travel between distant points, moving up to 3 legs per day. Theoretically, if two lines of supply intersected at the start/finish node of each other, a courier could navigate 61 legs, taking 21 days to complete the journey. Each depot in operation allows the side to operate a single LoS. If a side had two depots, it could use that as the source for both LoS. Depots are set up in any friendly owned regionalcapital, but take 7 days to bring to operational status.

Screen shot 4

This shot shows the level of detail within the system. The players are all in charge of corps or higher formations, but on the tabletop they’re pushing round battalions. This screen shows these and their starting strengths. AS you can see there’s a couple of columns that are currently incomplete, these are down to either unfinished development or changes in the ruleset we’re writing.

Screen shot 5

Here’s the admin login screen which is used when running the turn. The three check boxes show which modules are in operation. I’ve done it this way as I can envisage a time when we don’t want to run with all the bells and whistles.

Supply – This switch regulates whether or not we’re playing using the extended Supply rules. These try to replicate the Lines of Supply that exist backing up an army. Each Line of Supply allows units within 3 nodes of it to escape any detrimental effect from being “out of supply”. Lines can be cut by enemy troops however, so a cut between the depot and a unit means that unit will take increasing losses over time until the supply line is restored. Additionally, the reinforcements are governed by the same check box. If it’s switched on and a unit is below its starting strength and within 3 of an uncut line of supply, it has the possibility of gaining a draft of replacements. Each side has a pool of replacements, and these are allocated on a basis of greatest need, so a unit needing 100 men will be replenished before a unit needing only 5. Of course each day’s draft may change the overall landscape since it’ll rarely fulfil the units losses especially after combat.

Courier interception – With this switched off, couriers can pass through enemy held areas with inpunity. Provided there’s a valid route for them to follow, the courier will always get through. When it’s switched on, couriers can be intercepted or delayed when travelling anywhere. The chance of loss is greater for passing through enemy controlled areas, and is heavily modified by enemy troops in the location. Best used in conjunction with Regional Ownership.

Regional Ownership – Each town belongs to a region. These are run from a regional capital, the ownership of which dictates the ownership of the entire region. There are two levels tracked in each region, a garrison level which replicates the positive effect your garrisons (if any) have on subduing the population from revolt, weeding out enemy couriers and spies. The other factor is Insurrection level, which shows how much support your enemies have in the area. Both these factors are used in computing courier interception. Provided there is a garrison in a region, there is a chance each day that the garrison level will increase and also that the insurrection level will decrease. These factors influence each other. With this option in play, the players are given strategic as well as tactical considerations.

The last box shows the choices of countries in play. The countries in the list are those that exist in the system as of now. These choices govern the options in the town selections throughout the game. Regions are noted as to which country they are in, and in the case of border regions which country they border, allowing for campaigns where an invading army begins its movement from within its own lands.

All of these settings can be changed during the campaign, but I’d expect they would be set at the beginning and then left alone for the duration.