Posted by: T.A.G. | 15/01/2016

Campaign Thoughts: Looking Back at Three Years of Gaming – Part 2

In this post, I shall consider the things that I learned whilst participating in this campaign.

I suppose a good place to start is with the campaign scenario because this underpins everything else about the campaign. I have never been to Spain so I don’t know that much about its people, culture, geography or history. The campaign has been an excellent vehicle to learn more about Spain and especially Catalonia. I now have a much better appreciation of that region of Spain and am minded to visit at some future point.

I knew some things about the army of Spain as it was in 1808/1809, having planned and acquired the army that opposed me. However, I did not know all that much about the political constraints that Spanish armies would have been operating under in 1808/1809 so hats off to the umpire whose research was impeccable and for grasping the diverse goals and objectives of the ruling Junta and playing them into the campaign in a meaningful and relevant way.

The military aspects of the campaign are where I feel I have learned much, indeed much more than I ever expected at the start of the campaign. The escalade of Girona was as unpleasant a wargame as it was fascinating and I still shudder at the memory of my superb army being shattered against that city’s walls. At the end of the game, I looked the umpire in the eye and said, “Let them rampage”. The practice of punishing a city after a siege or storming was rooted in history but to have experienced the feelings of anger at the waste of life (aka casualties measured in figures) was very illuminating. I felt no pity for the occupants of Girona and my victorious soldiers had earned the right to “party”…

Still on Girona, the umpire’s mechanism for an escalade, whereby, the number and combinations of dice varied depending on pre-determined criteria was extraordinarily clever. There is always room for creativity and this was an excellent example of a house rule coming up trumps.

It was interesting to measure the perceptions of others as my French army, with its allied contingents, progressed to Barcelona and beyond. It was perceived as being superfast, of superb quality (in fact, there was much talk of the French being almost entirely elite troops) and having large amounts of cavalry. Why was this, I often wondered? Some of the perceptions were as a result of comparison to the Spanish forces who were considered ineffective and of very poor quality. This in turn is a reflection of the excellence of the General de Brigade rules, which level out troop quality (so that the quality advantage for better quality troops in a like-for-like situation is usually only +1 and almost never more than +2) but which rewards using troops to reflect the capability levels implied by troop quality (the rules usually sting you if you use Conscript or 2nd Line troops as though they were Veteran or Elite quality). Very few of my forces were elite and about a third of my infantry was 2nd Line quality or worse, including a brigade composed entirely of conscript infantry.

The photos below are from the campaign.

T. A. G.

Next post: Campaign Thoughts: Looking Back at Three Years of Gaming – Part 3

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