2000-2001 Campaign Log: Part 10

Last month, I brought the annotated log of the first campaign of Strategic Primer to the end of the first file and of the third turn. There was no action dated February 18, so we resume with the fourth turn, dated February 19, 2001.

I began with the actions of the player code-named Robert E. Lee.

Player Name Date Unit Attempted Action Result of Action
Robert E. Lee 2/19/01 Phalanx 1 Move as far E as possible. Moved correctly 2 hrs (20 mi). Moved correctly 2 hrs (20 mi). Bogged down. Moved correctly 2 hrs (20 mi). Moved out of step 2 hrs (20 mi). Moved correctly 2 hrs (20 mi). Bogged down. Bogged down. Moved correctly 1 1/2 hrs (15 mi). Total distance: 115 mi.
Robert E. Lee 2/19/01 Legion 1 Move due S as far as possible Moved correctly 4 hrs (40 mi). Moved correctly 4 hrs (40 mi). Bogged down. Bogged down. Moved out of step 4 hrs (40 mi). Moved out of step 1 1/2 hrs (15 mi). Bogged down. Total distance: 135 mi.
Robert E. Lee 2/19/01 Legion 2 Move due W as far as possible. Moved out of step for 4 hrs (40 mi). Moved correctly almost 2 hrs (17 mi). On shore of lake. Rested for rest of 2 hrs. Experimented with boat-building and invented the Longboat. Camped.

As usual in that campaign, I bent the rules thoroughly in the players’ favor. “Invented” here (if I remembered the “free prototype” rule—since discontinued, for reasons I’ve mentioned before) also means “constructed,” and that’s most unreasonable given only a few hours (even with fifty men) unless they knew what they were doing beforehand.

Next came an inactive player and a less-active player.

Napoleon 2/19/01 None None None. Currently producing Rabble, 1 tn. remaining. Rabble 1 has 1 turn left as a Rabble.
Edward Campau 2/19/01 None None Edward invents gunpowder, galvanization of rubber, and the liftable tire-bomb.

I was, as usual, highly lenient on the amount and quality of information necessary for those inventions.

George Washington, one of the most active players, was next; we’ll end this segment with him.

George Washington 2/19/01 Horse-drawn Catapult 12-13 Move to the sea (about 255 mi). Bogged down. Bogged down. Moved out of step for 1 hr (64 mi). Moved correctly for 1 hr (64 mi). Moved correctly for 1 hr (64 mi). Moved out of step for almost 1 hr (63 mi). Filled up on chlorine gas, hydrogen, etc. Invented the non-atomic hydrogen bomb.

Note that in that campaign, I paid alarmingly little attention to whether an exciting proposed advance could actually work.

Washington’s next orders brought a battle:

George Washington 2/19/01 Horse-drawn catapults 1-7 Prepare to attack Lucius Sergius Catalina (180 mi) Started 4 hrs into the day. Bogged down. Moved correctly 1 hr (64 mi). Moved out of step 1 hr (64 mi). Moved correctly almost 1 hr (52 mi).
George Washington 2/19/01 Horse-drawn catapults 1-7 Attack Lucius Sergius Catalina Attempted to fire hydrogen bombs and stones at the gate, gate broken at first shot. Enemy charged. Unit 1: Swept out of formation by a Legion but can fight. Disabled, killed enemy. Nursed wounds. Unit 2: Swept out of formation by a Legion but can fight. Unscathed, killed enemy, went to aid of Unit 3. Unit 3: held ground, enemy not beaten immediately, Unscathed, enemy died. Unit 2 arrived, both went to aid of Unit 4. Unit 4: swept out of formation but can fight, disabled, help arrived and charged the enemy, attacked and was not beaten immediately, enemy died. Units 2 & 3 moved on to Unit 5. Unit 5: Held ground, enemy died. Along with 2 & 3, moved to Unit 6. Unit 6: Held ground. Enemy was out of formation, beaten immediately, and killed. Went to aid of Unit 7. Unit 7: Held ground against a Catapult, enemy beaten immediately and surrendered. Captured unit had horses hitched to it, wasn’t improved yet. Units 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and the new one (14) formed a new line and charged the fortress, downhill. Unit 2: Attacked and was not beaten immediately. Enemy catapult swept out of formation, surrendered, had horses hitched to it. Units 2 & the new one (15) went to the aid of 3. Unit 3: Attacked and was not beaten immediately, enemy was swept out of formation but could fight. Enemy died. All 3 went to the aid of 5. Unit 5: Was not beaten immediately. Enemy died. All enemies gone, entered HQ and took it.
None 2/19/01 None None LUCIUS SERGIUS CATALINA HAS BEEN UTTERLY DEFEATED!!!

This was the first major battle of the game, and it shows some of the weaknesses of the system (and the tools I was using): For a battle of any size or complexity, my “AutoChart” software (which created random numbers to “roll” on the chart until the end condition was reached) spit out so much detail that even with me cleaning it up at the time, it’s still hard to tell what’s going on. (And this is too much detail for a report a field commander would send to his superiors anyway.) And the result tables didn’t integrate well with the developing notions of attack power, unit health, and so on. I’d like to bring the ideas of formation and morale back, but I’ll need to think how they fit in with the rest of the game.

“Lucius Sergius Catalina” (“Cataline” in my players list) was an inactive player (“wd” in my list of players, for “withdrawn”—he or she signed up to play, but didn’t actually do so), so I suspect I fudged the battle a little bit—not that Washington needed the help.

We’ll begin the next installment with more “roundup” of inactive players, then another battle.

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