Friday, 17 February 2012

When Two Tribes go to war...

In response to Bluebear Jeff's (waves) challenge to create a mini-campaign by linking together scenarios from CS Grant's book, here's my entry.  Seeing how other contributors have already diverged from the original brief of just using the book Scenarios For Wargames, using Table Top Teasers and Scenarios For All Ages, I've opted to craft my campaign entirely using scenarios from Programmed Scenarios For Wargamers.  It's designed to be as universally applicable as possible, with two relatively equivalent forces on either side.  It does presume the necessity of troops advancing overland, so if playing in the late 20th century or later periods assume that air-mobile troops are unavailable for some reason.

Continuing Diplomacy - a mini campaign

Relations between Country A and Country B have always been tense, but in recent months diplomacy between the two has become increasingly strained and both mobilise forces to the border region.  With two large armies operating in such close proximity, it's inevitable that at some point the two will come to blows.  The army commander on the spot has two choices: return to the capital and face censure and possible punishment for plunging the nation into an unwanted war, or take advantage of the outcome of the initial skirmishes and conduct a lightning campaign to secure a strategic advantage that will surely mollify the political leaders back home.

This campaign links scenarios from the book Programmed Scenarios for Wargamers by C S Grant.  The results of each scenario will affect the setup of the following battle.  The whole campaign will last five battles.  It is assumed that the forces in each scenario represent only a portion of the overall army, though I've included an optional rule if you wish to track casualties in units from battle to battle.

1 - Initial Scenario PSW#11 Crossroads (p79)

Two advance guards meet at a strategically important road junction.  The winner of this becomes the aggressor (Red) for the campaign, while the loser becomes the defender (Blue).  In the event of a draw, refight using a different army list, as different parts of the two armies move up to continue contesting the position.  Alternatively players may choose to break the tie with a set-piece battle on randomly generated terrain, the roll of a dice or with three rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors (or Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, if that's your fancy)

2 - PSW#18 A Hasty Blocking Position (p110)

With the advance guard having secured the route of advance for Red, Blue forces quickly move to try to cut them off from exploiting the breakthrough.
If Red wins this battle, go to 3
If Blue wins or draws this battle, go to 4

3 - PSW#5 The Weak Flank (p44)

With Red holding the strategic initiative, Blue is forced into a less than ideal defensive position, which Red has the opportunity to exploit with an attack on the weak flank.
If Red wins this battle, go to 5
If Blue wins this battle, go to 6

4 - PSW#1 Hill Line Defence (p18)

Having delayed Red's advancing forces, Blue is able to deploy in good defensive terrain, against which Red must make a potentially costly assault.
If Red wins this battle, go to 5
If Blue wins this battle, go to 6
In the event of a draw, roll a six sided dice (1-3 = go to 5, 4-6 = go to 6)

5 - PSW#7 Two sides of a River (p57)

With Red having broken through, Blue must deploy to defend against an advance that may come on either side of the River X.
If Red wins or draws this battle, go to 7
If Blue wins this battle, go to 8

6 - PSW#6 Crossing Point (p50)

Having been held off in the hills, Red diverts his advance through the lowlands and must force a crossing of the River X, which forms a natural defensive position for Blue.
If Red wins this battle, go to 7
If Blue wins this battle, go to 8

7 - PSW#8 Fighting Through (p62)

Red strikes deep into the Blue hinterland, aiming a thrust directly at Y-Town.
If Red wins this battle, it is a Major Red Campaign Victory
If Blue wins this battle, it is a Minor Blue Campaign Victory

8 - PSW#9 Island Stand (p67)

With the attempted strategic advance across the River X checked, Red must make a costly assault across it in order to seize Z-Town.  If Blue can repel them here, the aggressors will be unable to continue hostilities.
If Red wins this battle, it is a Minor Red Campaign Victory 
If Blue wins this battle, it is a Major Blue Campaign Victory 

Optional Rules

Casualty tracking
If you wish to employ the same units in subsequent battles you will need to keep track of casualties taken in each battle.  Assume that of all casualties taken, half will be recovered for future battles.  In order to keep the scenarios as balanced as possible, give each player the choice of using a fresh unit for each battle or bringing back one that has already fought.
If your wargame rules recognise troop quality, for the final battle roll a die for each unit that has fought in multiple battles.  If the roll is less than the number of battles they have fought, the surviving troops have become hardened and improve a level in quality for the final battle.  However, if the roll is a six, the unit has fought too much and is spent, lowering a level in quality. (The exact mechanics and values will vary with different rulesets.  Agree on how this will be implemented before starting the campaign)

Victory Points
As an alternative/supplement to the final battle determining the campaign result, players may like to track Victory points throughout the campaign.
For each victorious battle - 20 points
For each draw - 10 points to each side
For each unit in a battle that's carrying forward casualties from a previous battle - 1 point.
(note that a unit that fought previously but suffered no casualties does not get this, as obviously they weren't involved enough to count)


That's it.  Despite the branching structure, it's actually fairly linear, always ending up at one of two scenarios. I've tried to make sure that the terrain and situation in each game is a logical outcome of the previous battle.  The first battle and the last two are the most important.  The first determines which side becomes the strategic attacker (important because there's a very slight bias in favour of Red in the final scenarios) while the last two determine the overall campaign result, with the exact result in doubt until the very last battle.

If anyone ever plays this, do let me know how you get on.


  1. Thank you for this. I've added your mini-campaign to the lists on my blogs. And, yes, I've been wanting some mini-campaigns for solo gamers too . . . indeed I've already asked Ross if he would come up with one . . . it will be interesting to see how different his will be.

    -- Jeff

  2. I think I might have a crack at this one myself.