Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My New Campaign

Good grief, a month nearly past with only one post! Never fear, as there’s been plenty of activity. Time for an update! A few things have come together over the last few weeks and formed into the notion of a campaign I could try out, and – because if I delay I’ll get all distracted from the original idea and get bogged down in details – I thought I’d just throw myself straight at it and see what happens. After all, even if I end up relating a step-by-step guide of how not to do things, there’ll always be someone out there who benefits!

First, I’ve got a set of 15mm ACW figures a month or so back, which I have been painting up to completion. They are modest sized armies, which I was intending to use in a DBA-esque sort of game. This was inspired by the blog MrFarrow2U (listed on ‘my blog list’ to the side) which is made up of photo-reports of DBA battles from an extension that runs up from 1500 to ~1900. I bought and painted a set for each, intending a DBA-style campaign.

Next, there came a search for other rules which I could possibly use. I discovered the 2x2ACW rules at freewargamesrules.com as a further option for small-scale battles, and also considered my old (and excellent) boardgame ‘A House Divided’ by Phalanx Games. Well worth a look! The link below is for boardgamegeek’s description:


So, there were plenty of low-complexity rules for tactical and strategic campaigns, but I was a little vague about how I would link them. Next, there was some straight-out googling of ACW campaigns to see if any other clubs had helpfully posted details of how they did it. There were indeed, and I as particularly caught by this one:


These gamers had even (like myself) based it all on A House Divided, but had the excellent method of drawing up extremely large 12ft x 12ft maps for each box on the strategic board (the ones you actually fought in at any rate, to save you drawing a continent!) So, it looked like that was that.

However, as all this continued slowly, some other ideas which I thought were totally separate continued to bubble away. First was a hunt for an out-of-context campaign, which was inspired by a comment in some old book I remembered. I think it may have been in the Osprey Campaign Series book for The Ardennes 1944, but basically it pointed out that if you set up a campaign with Americans in a forested region in winter, a player would instantly think ‘it’s the battle of the Bulge’ and fight defensively, but if you set it in 1941 with Germans advancing on Moscow through woods in winter, they would have the attitude of the Allied generals that they were moving in to finish off a defeated enemy. Their reaction would then be all the more authentically confused when they were hit by an unexpected armoured counter-offensive.

I think it’s called a ‘disguised scenario.’ I do solo gaming, so it was only really of use to generate ideas from mixing up different times and situations (my best one was an Alexandrian Successor Campaign but transplanted into the 19th Century, when Napoleon was unexpectedly assassinated in 1810 and his marshals fought it out to hold his empire together.)

Anyway, this idea came in when I stumbled across a link (sadly lost, as I didn’t bookmark it and now can’t re-find it! Aargh!) to a report somebody had written on an ACW campaign but in Ireland. Yes, Ireland. They were fighting a conventional battle between the Blue and the Grey, but the map just happened to be of Ireland rather than some fictional back-water state. I liked the idea, and it grew on me. The final eureka-moment came from this:


And this led to this:


So, after Wargaming Miscellany once more fixed me up with some good signposting, I was reading about somebody running a fictional campaign in their own country. An interesting idea, appealing, and with a touch of quirkiness to make it fascinating. So, finally it all came together and I thought ‘what if I did the ACW campaign and set it on a map of Scotland?’ There are at least a few similarities for the strategic situation:

a) Large population and industrial concentrations in one area (the ‘North’)

b) Geographically large hinterland with small rural towns (the ‘South’)

c) Very large and complex coastline to be blockaded (the Anaconda Plan)

d) Large regions for irregular warfare (‘Kansas and the frontier’)

e) Close-proximity critical cities where fighting could focus (‘Northern Virginia between Washington & Richmond’)

So, I’m currently drawing up maps everywhere, and mainly on MSPaint (the most infuriating drawing package in the entire universe) so I can post updates for people to follow the whole strange experiment. I’ll keep battering away at it and hopefully the map should follow soon, along with a full explanation of how I devised it. Wish me luck, and thanks to all the disparate/desperate people above who helped in whatever way to give encouragement!


  1. Glad that my blog was of help. I look forward to reading about the progress of your campaign.

    All the best,

    Bob Cordery

  2. Enjoying your campaign. The reference you lost for the ACW campaign is John Tunstill - see http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.com/search/label/John%20Tunstill.