Mapless Campaign Rules

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #7293 by DSRGames
Instead of using linked scenarios as a campaign tool, I've come up with ways to create a campaign battle system that makes each battle somewhat meaningful and not too much a burden on the administrative side. As a campaign, it will generate uneven battles at times and there is a way to do the battle "off board" if either side wishes to fight it. But there is so much satisfaction in bringing to a draw (or even winning) over a larger force, not to mention the feeling of finally having maneuvered your opponent into that campaign deciding battle !

Note I use a bunch of house rules as well for (I treat squares differently because the command hand can be small if the battle is small) and a few other esoteric things that are to my taste (e.g. I do not use the out of supply card for campaign battles).

This system should work whether it is mapless (e.g. card or narrative driven) or map (usually a hex or area map with the forces on it etc). More on these later.

Forces
Forces are composed of Strength Points (SPs). There are SPs for Infantry, Cavalry and Leaders.  Artillery is handled a little differently, and is gained based on force size/type and leader(s) present. One SP represents one (full strength) of that type of unit.

Setup
Either randomly determine a scenario and use that map or use the handy map generator APK (google "command and conquer napoleonic map generator"). The only thing I'd like on this one though is a set of switches for each of the hills/woods/built-up/swamp that would vary the amounts "none", "standard", "more" so you can tailor the randomness to the type of area the battle is being fought in.  Still pretty dandy though and it will generate rivers...

Regardless of how the maneuver/map movement goes, when it comes time to deploy for a battle, each side gains the SPs in its force. Attacker and defender are determined by the scenario generated by the battle and is dependent on the campaign game system (more on the map and mapless systems later).

Blocks are labeled on one side only (play with the blocks face up during the game) so that during setup, there is a scouting phase where the side with the scouting advantage gets to choose the side to use and influences the die rolls to see how many units have to be setup and who sets up those units 1st. They alternate until all units are setup. If desired for a  limited "fog of war", units are one block only at this point and played face down, and are only revealed when spotted (this works good for the odd night-dusk-dawn battle or fog- which plays in to weather rules as well).

The attacker sets up within 2 hexes of his baseline. The defender sets up within 4 of his baseline. Certain conditions may allow units to be setup in a reserve, behind that player's baseline and rules to allow their entry.

Game length
Game length is determined by the sides of the two forces. After dealing the initial command cards to the players, the deck is trimmed to fit the game length (usually the value of the two sides forces combined).

Command Cards
A force has 2 plus one per leader in the force. There is a leader activation command that can activate multiple units in command range and touching a leader that can span  across zones.

Winning
There are a number of Victory Locations (usually 3) on the owner's side of the board. For general battles, only the defender has these. For Meeting Engagements, both sides have them. When taken, they immediately are removed and force the owner to take an Army Morale Check. If it fails, he routs. If all that side's Victory Locations are captured, he routs.

If there is no winner by the time the command deck is empty, the result is a draw.

If a side wins, he can pursue the enemy to inflict additional casualties.

Post Battle
Each side totals up all his block losses by SP type. For every 6, he loses 1 SP of that type. If there is a fraction of 6, roll D6 <= that fraction to not lose an SP (e.g. 14 blocks lost, = 2 SP plus an additional loss if a D6 roll of 3-6 is rolled). There is a minimum loss if at least as many blocks are lost of that unit type. Otherwise it is just the roll (e.g. a side loses 3 blocks of French Line. It loses 1 SP on a roll of 4-6 and none on a roll of 1-3). For units of 3 blocks, double this number (e.g. 2 losses = 4 etc) or just use a handy home-made D3 (six sided dice pips taken off so that if has 2 sides of 1s, 2s and 3s) or just divide the roll by 2 (FRU).

The SPs are removed from that army/corps and placed on the battle map region/hex or returned the the Army pool and the next campaign turn is played.

Each side can acquire Supply Points to help replenish units in its "dead pool". Over time the army sizes will ebb and flow as battles and skirmishes are fought.

(to be continued)
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by DSRGames. Reason: Revised Info

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #7296 by DSRGames
Campaign System (more or less map less)

Army Maneuver Deck
Each side has an Army Maneuver Deck that consists of 9 Cards:   2 Observe,  2 Attack, 2 Flank, 2 Defend, and 1 Rest.

Campaign Turn
Each campaign turn, both sides pull and reveal 1 card from their deck. After the current battle (if any) it is discarded, although in a skirmish one side may be able to retain the card instead.

Battle Matrix
The two cards are compared and according to the Battle Matrix, the result will be No Battle, Meeting Engagement, or Standard Battle. In addition, depending on the cards used, one side or the other may have an advantage (which can mean extra forces allowed, setup bonuses, game length etc). In addition, there is a chance of events occurring that could affect setup and forces for one side or the other.

If No Battle, there is a chance of a Skirmish instead.

Playing the Rest card allows all discarded cards to be returned to the hand and Supply Points to be gained. However, if any battle is fought, that player will fight at a bad disadvantage.

Army Composition
Each side has an Army Force Pool of SPs that are drawn and used for each battle. Losses are removed from the SPs after each battle into a dead pool, where he can use Supply Points to purchase them back. His force pool composition will vary as the game progresses, as units will be killed faster than he can replace them, so each battle has a meaning beyond the individual win or loss. A pyrrhic victory may bleed an army so bad that it will be very weak for the next battle(s) and still lose the area. Sometimes taking a draw or a loss is a valid thing to do (know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em).

Overall "Map"
The area fought in is a set of areas (say if Peninsula Campaign, divided into various sections of Spain) that are fought over in sequential order. Each section requires a certain amount of VPs to win that area. In addition, each area can be tailored to more specific terrain generation (e.g. maybe more mountainous, more cultivated, chance of river battle etc).

The side that gains the amount of VPs for that area first "wins" that area and the next one is fought over. Note this will usually take several games to complete (with some back and forth as players win/lose battles) for larger, more important areas.

Mega Campaign (area map driven)
If there are multiples of players available, there can be multiple "map" areas fought over. Areas can be linked so that "winning" one area leads to another. Armies that have "won" their area can march to assist another that is linked to the one they are in.
Note: Can be done as a map campaign using say, Empires in Arms to tie things together with a few additional rules (e.g. how to handle army composition, area VP levels etc).

(to be continued)
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by DSRGames. Reason: Additional info

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #7304 by DSRGames
Skirmish Scenarios
There is a chance built into the matrix that instead of a battle, a skirmish is fought instead. It is fought on a board with individual blocks representing 1-2 men trying to gain VPs and uses some modified rules. Losses here are not permanent, but the effect of "winning" this skirmish would be to modify the force pools for the next battle scenario.

I've been tinkering with some different scenarios- such as "meeting of patrols",  "supply wagon escort", "grab the supplies", "defend the outpost" and "guerilla hunting". Also incorporating roads (like from C and C Tricorn and possibly using that size board and terrain tiles) to add a little variety to the map.
 
Currently there scenarios  "Forage", "Meeting of Patrols" and "Supply Escort", "Secure the Supply Line" and "Blow the Bridge". These are played for Supply Points which can be used to take units from its Dead Pool.


 
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by DSRGames. Reason: Additional info

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 5 days ago #7308 by DSRGames
I've completed 2 test runs of the campaign (card) system using a simple force structure (French/British peninsula). Since there were some key additions part way through the 1st play through (skirmish rules and additional skirmish rules mostly), that playthrough was scrapped and another two were completed.

The results were pretty good:

1st Campaign
There were 8 battles and 4 skirmishes. The final total was 3-5 with the British winning the campaign. The French initial gains (VPs) were at an extreme cost they could not maintain, as their skirmishes went rather badly (they help get your supplies back up so you can recover dead SPs when you do well).  Their luck was not too good. For example the "Blow the Bridge" (they were defending it) failed on the last card pulled, with the bridge being destroyed and costing them the supplies they had built up to help recover from the initial battles. In the end, they were not strong enough in the final battle (only had 7 infantry units, 2 Light Cavalry units and 1 Leader (which added a foot battery) versus 12 British Line units, 2 Leaders (along with 2 Foot Batteries), 3 Light Cavalry (along with one horse battery). In addition, they kept fighting at a disadvantage (due to the maneuver matrix), which made the map board more open and constraining his setups at times. Quite fun....

2nd Campaign
There were 12 battles and 10 skirmishes. The final total was 5-2 with the French winning the campaign. The British got off to a bad start, losing too many troops early on in a meeting engagement and had to scramble to make up the loss. They actually did better down the stretch as they were down 4-0 before battling back. Some rules changes made a few more battles become draws instead of minor victories. I added a "Escort Supply Convoy" skirmish that needs a bit more fine-tuning but was not considered bad by my opponent that day (he helped with a few battles/skirmishes- the rest I did solo so that I can rapidly prototype and test the rules) despite him losing by not having his marauding Spaniards destroy either wagon.....

3rd Campaign
There were 10 battles and 8 skirmishes. The final total was 5-1 with the French winning the campaign. Decisive 1st British Victory in a meeting engagement with terrible losses on both sides. During the ensuing skirmishes, French won more supplies and managed to always be strong enough to beat the British in the field battles afterwards. Very bad command card pulls for the British in a few of these battles. Changed the VP conditions where the other side gets a turn to retake any lost VP spot before having to take an army morale check (another thing the British rolled terrible on). A memorable highlight was the charge of the light brigade type British cavalry attack near the end of the last battle that almost saved the day...

As an aside, am trying  a simple miniature version (individual 15mm-ish figs with magnet ready on bottom and high energy bases to move them around on) with 6 inf, 3 cav, 2 Art, 1 Leader per base.  Firing a little different, and calculation of losses for campaign purposes also changed a little. Appears promising and seems to produce decent battles with tension and less "all or nothing" firing/melee that the blocks seem to do.

4th Campaign
There were 6 Battles and 2 Skirmishes. The final total was 0-3 with the British winning the campaign. British had the luck of the draw (and rolls) most of the time, with French losing 2 tough battles at the end to lose the campaign. Changes made were to reduce the campaign victory to 3 wins (final total 3 wins and 3 draws). Also, fully mplemented events (had 2 happen that favored the British) and a more comprehensive battle advantage system. The side with the advantage, if there is one gains a  certain amount of advantage points he can spend to help his position- such as an extra force pick, random event, or gaining 1st choice of board edge to use as his baseline instead of having to win the scouting roll. All battles were fought with the new miniature based rules, skirmishes with the blocks.

All in all, I think its rounding out itself well and am in the process of getting the rules into a somewhat useable condition (currently its in an open office calc file). Maybe I can get a pdf or something uploaded sometime soon, barring external "pressures" :D

(to be continued)
Last edit: 2 months 5 days ago by DSRGames. Reason: More info

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #7319 by DSRGames
I've mutilated some older java code I had lying around that generates hex maps with a variety of terrain to be able to create skirmish maps (or regular CnC maps if I mutilate it a bit more but that android map generator works fine).

I might get around to using the tile images instead of the drawing at some point.

I'm working on the generator parameters so the affected map can be influenced to be more hilly, wooded, etc etc. Also getting a town/farm and some fence/wall/hedge terrain implemented (the code is already there to do so, I have to make it work correctly in the context of the map generated).

Attached are a few examples of some generated skirmish level maps: 
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Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by DSRGames. Reason: completeness

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2 months 2 days ago #7327 by DSRGames
These are the simple counters/cards for the mapless campaign. Note there are more here than used in a typical campaign here, including extra cards including a wildcard I haven't used yet. The idea is that you can tailor an army commander's maneuver deck based on his predilection (e.g. aggressive = more attacks, passive more defends, cautious more probes etc). As always, since this uses some graphics from the game for the counters, this is for non-profit only :D

What I do is print them out on white label paper (whole sheet). The cards I stick on business cards. The counters to thick cardboard and cut out. These are put into a cup and chosen as needed from the force pool and replaced into it if they survive or if taken as casualties are placed in a third cup called "Losses" (along with any used maneuver cards) since this is where replacements, regained cards are pulled from. Currently for me this is 2 empty plastic (with lids) containers that were cottage cheese (for forces A & B) and one of Onion Dip (for the losses). Be sure to clean them first :D

 
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2 months 1 day ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #7329 by DSRGames
Replied by DSRGames on topic Mapless Campaign Rules
Here are the campaign rules. They are lumped into one PDF file at the moment, so some explanation is required:

Campaign Rules:
These are the core campaign rules along with a simple French/British Peninsular campaign.

Rule Changes:
These are the rule changes I use when using blocks for battles. I use the wonderful android CnC map generator for my maps (its on google store), but you can always randomize scenario maps for the same purpose. I also have a not-fully implemented map generator of my own I have not fleshed out yet, some examples posted above in another reply.

Miniature Rules:
These are the miniature rules I use for battles instead of blocks. Many are the same rules as I use with blocks but adjusted to standard unit sizes. For troops I use simple Risk plastic figures (Morrison Games) available on amazon in up to 8 colors which I mount individually to magnetic ready tape (think magnetic tape without any charge) trimmed to the figure base.  The variety of colors allows to represent different troop types.

These are mounted on bases (I use LitKO) with heavy duty magentic tape (also from LitKO) on them that match the 3 base types I use: Infantry (6 figures on a 1 in x 1.25 in base), Cavalry (3 figures on a 1.5 in x 1.25 base), Artillery (2 figs on a cavalry size base) and Leaders (One cavalry fig on 0.5 in x 1.25 in base). Losses are in figures, and are totaled at the end of a battle to determine losses to the force pools.

Skirmish  Rules:
These are the rules I use for skirmishes (which uses the blocks). Map generation for these is going to have to be a collaborative event with your opponent, but some guidelines have been added to each of the skirmish scenarios, at least until I get the aforementioned map generator working. For the map I use the standard map for CinC napoleonics but hex templates from CnC Tricorn, which have things such as roads, hedges, fences as well as the standard stream/bridge/hill/woods. I reprinted these on heavy cardboard stock and cut out so I can return the originals to their game box and also allowing me to make a few more of the types of pieces as I need them. If it is legal and acceptable, I should be able to post the PNGs I used to create these for those who do not have the game. But if not, you are cast on to your own resources.... :D

And if skirmishes are not your thing, then do a simple die roll that determines how much supply each side gets.

And there you have it- a mapless campaign system. I've used all/some of these in the past decades for miniature campaigns, but never all together in the same project as a cohesive whole as they are now. If anyone is interested, I might post my thoughts on campaigns in general, having participated in many over the years. along with some caveats and pitfalls encountered along the way. But that may be for another day.......

As always, what is clear to me might be clear as mud to you so I will answer any questions I can. Suggestions/additions/comments/AARs are always welcome and encouraged.

Enjoy !

DJD


ERRATA:
Until I get around to re-pdfing the whole thing, I'll list errata and changes here that have come up:

Skirmish Rules: In the Forage scenario, the side with the higher VP total at the end adds the difference to his die roll (not +1) to help determine winner/loser for Maneuver Card loss or not.

Miniature Rules: base Infantry firing at 2 hex range is 2 Dice, not 3.
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Last edit: 1 month 4 weeks ago by DSRGames.

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1 month 4 weeks ago - 1 month 4 weeks ago #7337 by DSRGames
Using the campaign rules above and expanding the "campaign" to include more than one zone to fight over, here is an example "mega campaign" and how to string zones together to create a larger campaign. Note some additional ideas are to vary the map generation per zone, such as  some zones may be more mountainous like Busaco or have different events that can be rolled for (maybe more Spanish help for the British if attacking Ciudad Rodrigo).

Mega Campaign #1 Spain 1810-1811    
■ The map is composed of 5 zones (from left to right):    
    1. Torres Vedras (2 VPs)
    2. Busaco (1 VP)
    3. Fuentes de Onoro (1 VP)
    4. Ciudad Rodrigo (1 VP)
    5. Salamanca (2 VP).
• in order to advance to a higher/lower zone, a side must first have that many Battle Victories    
(listed as VPs). The British advance toward Salamanca and the French towards Torres Vedras.
■ The winner is the one who captures the opponent's baseline    
• The French baseline is Salamanca    
• The British baseline is Torres Vedras    
■ The initial conflict zone is Fuentes de Onoro, neither side with any VPs.    
■ For forces use the simple Campaign force pools above.    
■ Torres Vedras and Salamanca areas give the British and the French (respectively) more chance    
of fortification in their battle(s) if they are not defending.    
Note: If a side has fortifications, the attacker gains +4 picks instead of +2 picks and the defender +1 foot battery.

Enjoy !



 
Last edit: 1 month 4 weeks ago by DSRGames.

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