A new modern campaign?

Concord

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Just before I start the day, thought I'd outline where my design thinking is at.

Company or Battalion level?

In the Brigade Battles campaign, counters on the campaign map are company sized. 30 per side.
Only single stacking per hex, except when attacking an enemy hex, where it's a maximum of 2 companies attacking.

The advantage of this is that it's pretty straight forward.
Easy to represent on the map, simple rules, and max 2 vs 1 odds (to keep things sane).

This method could be employed here as well.
However, I'm looking at alternatives. Rico's design is kind of like a hybrid.
Battalion level in each zone, with the companies doing different things within the zone.

It is excellent, but I'm thinking of how to simplify it for this campaign.
I especially want to stick to the quick battle format (with force limits/points specified), which rules out things like reserves arriving mid-battle.
The advantage of QB's is that as GM, I just have to paint the setup zones on the map, and hand it over to the players.

However, the modern task force style battalions seem to be suited to keeping them intact as a unit.
So how would it work if each counter on the map was a battalion?

In BB, the emphasis is on maneuvering. Lots of units, lots of hexes.
It has been working well so far. But because of the number of units in play, it needed to be turn-based rather than simultaneous movement.
I'm considering using simultaneous movement for this one.

Less units, and a much shorter time frame. Possibly even movement being as little as one hex/zone per turn. Okay, maybe 2 or 3.
One of the things missing from BB has been Meeting Engagements.
Simultaneous movement would probably create the possibility of ME's.

But what about attacks? Would 2 battalions vs 1 battalion be too much?
Too much balance wise? Too big a battle for busy people? Would the battles take too long?
The maps would need to be big. Perhaps 1.5-2km in size. Which probably means many custom made maps. Quite a project. Still, not impossible.

One advantage of big maps and big battles is that a variety of artillery and airpower could be used without upsetting the balance too much.
Another advantage? It would be absolutely EPIC.

Would there be Fog Of War? Maybe. I could add rules to govern air and ground recon perhaps.
Could scrap FOW entirely and assume all the modern recon tools are working at full capacity in an abstract way.

Looking at simultaneous movement again. Say that 2 battalions are about to enter an enemy hex/zone.
Just as the left unit is moving into the enemy hex, another enemy unit has orders to move into the hex being vacated. What happens?
There will be many instances of units bumping into each other and bypassing each other.
There would need to be a solid movement rule set to govern all situations.

Just like in the BB campaign, there will be one golden rule for this campaign, which is keeping it simple for the GM (to make it practical and avoid burnout).
With that in mind, there are still ways to make it an exciting campaign.

The big questions left from this ramble are:
Would 2v1 battalion level battles be something players would be willing to tackle?
Would players be willing to help make some detailed 1.5-2km maps?

The other idea I'm still examining is a scaled down MOUT campaign.
Company sized units creating mayhem in a big city, with a variety of terrain.
 

Gnarly

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I have never (unfortunately) participated in a campaign (the ones I wanted to do so, never eventuated @Rico .... ;P ). So cannot comment too much on the GM etc aspects. Edit: Actually, I have done one campaign, but whatever....

But in terms of both GM and player sanity, commitment and fun, err on KISS's side, particularly if your first foray into the modern battlefield perhaps?

In the same vein, I think keeping the battles smaller (company+ sized) will benefit in quick battle turn around, and keep the whole campaign moving. A 30 turn battle with a company+ sized force might take 1-2 months, whereas I could see much larger (aka your 'Epic' scale) battles (even with similar time-limitations) slowing/bogging down, and possibly seeing a number of non-completions. Particularly with urban maps.

All it would take is one battle out of 3 in a 'round' bogging down (e.g. just the time for player to analyse and plan their next turn would potential slow the turn rate), and the whole campaign could grind to a halt, and lose players interest (and players)?

Or not?

Smaller battles can be churned through quicker, and keep more interest in the overall strategic layer/maneuvers? Also, I perceive (selfish view) that you will get more players if you sell your campaign as smaller quicker battles (e.g. the recent SF2 Field Warrior campaign. Not saying do that size, but you get the idea).

Again, I may be talking outta my ass, but heh! ;D
 

Concord

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The BB battles have been 2v1 company battles with 45 turns, and have been taking 2 months to complete (from briefings to debriefings).
Bigger battles might have more turns and take longer to complete of course.

I just checked the player lists in BB. There are 12 players on each side.
There's a few on each side have not visited the forum in months!
Of the remainder, some have been very active in the campaign.
Some very little, perhaps just lurking and spectating.

When I joined the FGM forum at Nathangun's invitation years ago, it was to participate in his Bulge campaign.
Initially as a player - and later as Allied commander - I was never absent from the activities.
I put the forum on my watch list, and would get emails when new stuff was posted and go check it out.
But that may be because I enjoy campaigns. That extra layer of strategy, resolved with the tactical battles.

I also participated in Fredrocker's huge CMBN campaign before it fizzled and Bootie's campaign before it too bit the dust.
Personally, I would jump in up-to-my-neck if a campaign started here (or any forum) as a player.

The only reason I've started to create campaigns as a GM is because there doesn't seem to be any operating (other than mine).
I have been able to get BB going quickly by streamlining the system, but it still takes work. I'd rather be fighting the battles.
The big question is - is there any point to making and running a campaign if players don't really have sustained interest in it.
 

Vartuoosi

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@Concord
About arty I would suggest either seriously limiting the amount available or limiting the heaviest guns to the 105/122 range or both.
In the Five Lions campaign the huge amounts of heavy artillery on call combined with the relatively small map sizes of CMx2 (at least compared to CMx1) just resulted in NATO never leaving their starting positions and just blindly saturating the whole map with arty for the whole duration of hour+ battles. Because of the small maps they didn't even need to be smart about target selection, heavy casualties were guaranteed and that alone was enough for lot of the Syrian TFs to be disbanded.
I was bored out of my mind for most of the campaign.
 

Rico

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The BB battles have been 2v1 company battles with 45 turns, and have been taking 2 months to complete (from briefings to debriefings).
Bigger battles might have more turns and take longer to complete of course.

I just checked the player lists in BB. There are 12 players on each side.
There's a few on each side have not visited the forum in months!
Of the remainder, some have been very active in the campaign.
Some very little, perhaps just lurking and spectating.

When I joined the FGM forum at Nathangun's invitation years ago, it was to participate in his Bulge campaign.
Initially as a player - and later as Allied commander - I was never absent from the activities.
I put the forum on my watch list, and would get emails when new stuff was posted and go check it out.
But that may be because I enjoy campaigns. That extra layer of strategy, resolved with the tactical battles.

I also participated in Fredrocker's huge CMBN campaign before it fizzled and Bootie's campaign before it too bit the dust.
Personally, I would jump in up-to-my-neck if a campaign started here (or any forum) as a player.

The only reason I've started to create campaigns as a GM is because there doesn't seem to be any operating (other than mine).
I have been able to get BB going quickly by streamlining the system, but it still takes work. I'd rather be fighting the battles.
The big question is - is there any point to making and running a campaign if players don't really have sustained interest in it.
The participation issue is a separate discussion in itself.... tricky to resolve ... even just with the FGM in general, most members are just "lurkers" (or spectators to use friendlier term) and a few keen regular participants.
 

Concord

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@Vartuoosi Noted. Yeah, 105/122 is enough, and limited quantity.
I like nektoman's idea of fire bases with a certain range too.

@Rico Hmm. Might not be worth investing the time and effort.
Although there's some interest shown in this thread I suppose.
All we need is...a few good men. ;)
 

Stafford

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@Vartuoosi Noted. Yeah, 105/122 is enough, and limited quantity.
I like nektoman's idea of fire bases with a certain range too.

@Rico Hmm. Might not be worth investing the time and effort.
Although there's some interest shown in this thread I suppose.
All we need is...a few good men. ;)
I wouldn't take it too hard if a few blokes have drifted away, if they haven't actually had any input in the campaign thus far it would be easy enough to draft in a few more blokes on each side who want to fight - also with common passwords if someone ghosts/drops out due to real life issues it's easy enough for someone else to pick up the game and continue.

Personally I'm greatly enjoying the campaign, when there's something extra to fight for aside from just the win it makes games far more interesting.
 

Lethaface

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While I do enjoy battalion + sized games, they require quite a lot of time and energy. It's difficult to sneak in a turn during workbreak when having to order around a batallion of troops, so turn times will be slower in general I'd say.

With shared passwords the risk of player burnout can indeed be mitigated. Another option can be using some 'coop' rules, where two or more players divide the workload. We're playing such a game at the moment (1 CO + 2 force commanders), it works quite well imo.

At the same time I think that reinforced company sized taskforces would work ok too!

Time etc allowing I'd be willing to help with maps, not very experienced with the editor though. I do have the scancade tool installed, so I could extract maps from all the campaigns. Should be quite a number maps available that way.
 

Concord

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@Lethaface: noted.
The idea of shared command is interesting. Might be worth exploring.
Bigger battles, but smaller commands.
Might take some juggling though, with the files.

That's great about campaign map extraction. We got a few that way for BB too (well, Panzer_Kraut did it for me).

Maybe for this first venture, smaller, less time-intense battles.
Which means artillery and air will be heavily restricted - but necessary I think, given the smaller scale.
 

Lethaface

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@Lethaface: noted.
The idea of shared command is interesting. Might be worth exploring.
Bigger battles, but smaller commands.
Might take some juggling though, with the files.

That's great about campaign map extraction. We got a few that way for BB too (well, Panzer_Kraut did it for me).

Maybe for this first venture, smaller, less time-intense battles.
Which means artillery and air will be heavily restricted - but necessary I think, given the smaller scale.
I think @Kraut came up with the idea to try it, so far a couple of games have started / are being played by a number of people. I've joined in after reading about it. The file juggling is minor (just save the turn in a team only shared folder and have next player advance the turn), although it makes using CMH difficult. Works great imo.
 

Concord

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Having another look at a scaled down MOUT campaign.

I took a 500m x 500m stock city map from CMBS.
I duplicated it and made it into 4km x 4km. Then I laid a hex grid on top.

This size alone might be enough for a mini campaign.
Obviously, the actual custom made master map would be rich with features.
Things like parks, industrial areas, suburbs, courtyards, offices, gas stations, etc.

One advantage of doing it this way is only one 4000m x 4000m master map would be needed. Just chop it up for battles.

hex example copy.jpg

Here is the original stock 500m x 500m city map with a company of infantry and a platoon of tanks. Not too squeezy.

company example above.jpg

company example side.jpg
 

Stafford

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Damn @Concord, that master map is some Warhammer 40k shit! 'In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war...'

'Sergeant, didn't we just fight through this area yesterday?'

'Yeah son we did, and the day before, and we will fight through it again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that....'

:ROFLMAO:
 

nektoman

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@Concord how do you lay a hex grid? Just in photoshop?

I just haven't any idea how to turn a real piece of terrain into a hex map
 
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Rico

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So here's the epic latest version of the fictional Borscht Wars Campaign idea ... new map, hexes and sexy new counters.

Scenario is two small fictional former Soviet Republics, The People's Republic of Chomsk and the Kurgan Democratic Republic... who have been uneasy neighbours since the dissolution of the USSR and both sides have kitted themselves out with Russian and ex-Soviet hardware.... and some pretty autocratic, militaristic leadership.

Things got to a head about 12 years ago when oilfields were discovered in the Dereshnaya border region and a small, nasty border war ensued. A UN brokered ceasefire arrangement resulted in a Demilitarised Zone in Dereshnaya and a profit share agreement covering the oil drilling rights with forign oil companies -- but neither side has been happy with this arrangement and relations have reached boiling point, especially after a military council took control of the Kurgan government after a recent coup. Sabre rattling has ensued... and as both sides start mobilising their regular and reservist units, a incursion into the Derashnaya by a renegade Kurgan military commander sets a fuse to the powder keg... mayhem ensues.

NEW-BORSCHT-2020 flat.jpg

Units are "brigades" based on the various Tank or Mech infantry Battalion Tactical Groups (all mix of Tank and Mech Infantry) ... infantry either BMP or BTR based ... and some foot slogger border guard units. Maybe each side has an Elite "Speznatz Commando" unit as well.

Chomsk uses Ukrainian kit... Kurgan Russian hit (not the top end... so things a little bit more balanced)

Lots of room to maneuver -- will need quite a few battle maps (but we can double up with QB maps and make do -- every battle don't need a unique map necessarily)

Each hex represents approx 5x5 kilometres of terrain, but CM battle map would be a representative section of it where the fighting takes place. (urban maps smaller)

Basic unit is a company, with specialist support platoons and batteries of arty/mortars and AA units ... stacking limit is 2 companies per hex ... plus support platoons -- also featuring attack helos and air support.

More details later/tomorrow -- especially how unit counters and casualties work ... my turn to cook dinner. :cool:
 

nektoman

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@Rico how do you create these maps?
 

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I might need to start seriously thinking about investing in CMBS....
 

Lethaface

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@Rico @Concord so it seems we have two campaign masters/designers, who can split the load? :)
might be good for workload. Don't know, never been on a mp campaign but I've worked in ambitious teams ;-)
 
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