2000-2001 Campaign Log: Part 17

It’s been several weeks since the last installment of the annotated log of the first campaign of Strategic Primer, so today’s post is another installment of that series. Today’s segment is the beginning of the turn dated February 22, 2001, starting with the player code-named Edward Campau.

Player Name Date Unit Attempted Action Result of Action
Edward Campau 2/22/01 Armored Catapult 1, Horse-drawn Armored catapult 1, Mounted Legion 1 & 2 Move to Panzier’s HQ. (about 639 mi NNE. Ed.) Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. Bogged down. (That is, bogged down for 14 hrs straight. No motion.)

This player was off to a bad start already, since this was probably intended to be a strategy for the previous turn, but couldn’t be run until the 22nd (and, as I mentioned, I couldn’t backdate anything)—and now it begins with his first movement order resulting in no movement at all. Nowadays I’d say that this is too far from the norm and roll the whole thing over again (i.e. fudge things in favor of the player), but I was so dependent on my tools at that point that I left it in.

Edward Campau 2/22/01 Longbowmen 1 & 2, Horse-Drawn Catapults 1 & 2 Attack Panzier. Horse-drawn Catapults attack the gate with bombs. Horse-drawn Catapult 1: weapon breaks. Horse-drawn Catapult 2: weapon breaks. Mounted Longbowmen bombard the gate with bombs. Mounted Longbowmen 1: Bomb bursts but gate does not break. A stone ball comes sailing over the ramparts and kills half of Mounted Longbowmen 1. Mounted Longbowmen 2: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. The crews of the Horse-drawn Catapults also bombard the gate with bombs. Horse-drawn Catapult 1: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Horse-drawn Catapult 2: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Another stone ball sails over the ramparts but does not injure anyone. Mounted Longbowmen 1: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Mounted Longbowmen 2: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Horse-drawn Catapult 1: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Horse-drawn Catapult 2: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Mounted Longbowmen 1: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Another stone ball sails over the ramparts but does not injure anyone. Mounted Longbowmen 2: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Horse-drawn Catapult 1: Bomb misses. Horse-drawn Catapult 2: Bomb blasts but gate does not break. Mounted Longbowmen 1: Bomb goes off too soon, injuring a man. Another stone ball comes over the ramparts, killing 25 Longbowmen out of the Mounted Longbowmen 2. Mounted Longbowmen 2: Bomb blasts. Gate Breaks!. Two stone balls come over the ramparts. One catapult is destroyed and its crew killed. The second ball missed. Enemy Legion charges out and is not beaten immediately, Mounted Longbowmen 1 out of formation but can fight. Mounted Longbowmen 2 dead. Legion charges Mounted Longbowmen 1, attacks and was not beaten immediately. Mounted Longbowmen 1 held ground. Mounted Longbowmen died. Legion charges Horse-drawn Catapult 2 and was beaten immediately, surrendered. Another enemy Legion rushed out of the fortress and charged Horse-drawn Catapult 2. Horse-drawn Catapult 1 was swept out of formation but could fight. Enemy was beaten immediately, surrendered. An enemy Crossbowmen rushed out and charged Horse-drawn Catapult 2. Enemy attacked and was not beaten immediately. Edward’s unit was swept out of formation but could fight. Horse-drawn Catapult 2 died. The enemy Crossbowmen charged captured Legion 1, attacked and was beaten immediately and killed. Captured Legion 1 charged fortress and was met by enemy Crossbowmen. Not beaten immediately. Enemy swept out of formation but could fight. Captured Legion disabled. Enemy dead. Met by a Mounted Crossbowmen. Attacked but was beaten immediately, died. Captured Legion 2 was charged upon by the enemy Mounted Crossbowmen. Held ground. Enemy not beaten immediately. Enemy unscathed. Captured Legion 2 disabled. Enemy dead. Captured Legion 2 charged gate to be met by another enemy Mounted Crossbowmen, out of formation, attacks but was beaten immediately, died. Edward Campau lost the battle.

Wow, that’s a wall of text. It should go without saying that I’ll hide this kind of round-by-round detail from my players in the current or any future campaign (unless it’s their headquarters being attacked, and I’m running it live in person or in a chat session). And the dice continued to go against Edward Campau, for the most part. Let’s look at what happened, in pieces.

The battle started with an attempt to break the fortress’s gate with bombs, which he had invented recently. Unfortunately, both catapults broke at once, so the catapults’ crews and the longbowmen threw the bombs instead. This eventually succeeded, but only after several of them were injured by premature explosions, and counter-bombardment from Panzier’s catapults inside the fortress killed half of both of the groups of longbowmen, and destroyed one of the catapults with its crew. A lot of that was ad hoc; “units” were either a piece of equipment plus its crew or a large group of uniformly-armed soldiers, and the only notion of “health” that I had was “complement,” i.e. how many soldiers were still alive. I’ve since developed much better ways of thinking about these issues, drawing on modern tabletop role-playing games as well as other sources.

When the gate finally broke, one of Panzier’s Legion units sallied, killing the remainder of one the units of longbowmen after only a few rounds. (Battle was based entirely on charges and counter-charges, another mechanic that has changed beyond recognition.) The legion charged the catapults (I had forgotten that one had been destroyed, so it was, in effect, resurrected … I keep better track of such things nowadays), and was captured in the fighting.

At that point Panzier’s other Legion sallied and charged the other catapult, and after the catapult crew stood its ground, the shock of battle was such that the Legion surrendered. And at the time I had that mean “changed sides immediately,” which could have proved pivotal.

Next Panzier’s crossbowmen units sallied; they killed the remaining catapult crew, but died in a charge on the captured Legion, which then went into the fortress with the Legion that surrendered to continue the attack for their new player. One was “disabled” (not dead, but hitting that chance again would kill) in an encounter with the other (unmounted) crossbowmen unit, but killed them, then attacked a mounted crossbowmen unit and died in the charge. The counter-charge on the other Legion disabled it but killed Panzier’s unit. It charged the other mounted crossbowmen unit and died on impact, ending the battle in Panzier’s favor.

And that was the end of Edward Campau’s turn.

Arthur Pendragon 2/22/01 Rail Cannon 1 Launch Riflemen 8 N.. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Succeeded.
Arthur Pendragon. 2/22/01 Rail Cannon 2 Launch Riflemen 9 to N camp. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Failed. Launch Succeeded.
Arthur Pendragon 2/22/01 Riflemen 8 & 9 Drop into camp by Robert E. Lee’s HQ. Riflemen 8: Crashed. 3 men died. Riflemen 9: Crashed. 3 men died.

So Edward Campau wasn’t the only one hard-hit by the random number generator that turn …

Xenophon 2/22/01 Legion 2 Move to Northport. Done
Xenophon 2/22/01 Mounted Crossbow 2 Leave Northport, Hurry to join Legion 1 and Cavalry 2. (about 227 mi as the crow flies.) Bogged down. Bogged down. Moved out of step 2 hrs (60 mi). Moved correctly the rest of the way. (about 4 hrs total)
Xenophon 2/22/01 Mounted Crossbow 2, Legion 1, Cavalry 2. Move toward HQ, hurrying. Moved correctly all the way, 292 mi (about 7 hrs).
Xenophon 2/22/01 Mounted Longbows, Mounted Crossbowmen 1, Scout 3 Move SSE. Moved out of step 1 hr (68 mi).Moved correctly 1 hr (68 mi).Bogged down.Moved correctly 1 hr (68 mi).Moved correctly the rest of the way to the Wall at the Edge of the World (about 58 mi.) New (map) coordinates (198, 1039).
Xenophon 2/22/01 Mounted Crossbow 3, 4 & Aerial Scout 1 Move S, no hurry. Moved correctly 1 hr (68 mi).Moved correctly 1 hr (68 mi).Moved correctly 1 hr (68 mi).Moved correctly 1 the rest of the way to the Wall at the Edge of the World (about 60 mi) hr (68 mi). New (map) coordinates (80, 1039)

That bit about a “Wall at the Edge of the World” is because I was working with an image for the map, in fairly close detail, so making the map wrap around was too tricky to be worth it, so I just said the map didn’t wrap.

Xenophon 2/22/01 Cavalry 1 Move to HQ to join Legion 1 and Cavalry 2 (about 173 mi). Moved correctly 1 hr (30 mi).Bogged down.Moved correctly 1 hr (30 mi).Moved correctly 1 hr (30 mi).Bogged down. Moved correctly 1 hr (30 mi).Moved correctly 1 hr (30 mi).Moved out of step the rest of the way (about 26 mi).
Xenophon 2/22/01 Crossbow 2 & Junk 1 Move back to Eastport. Forced to tack for 1 hr (35 mi).Moved at proper speed for 1 hr (70 mi). Forced to tack for the rest of the way (6 mi).
Xenophon 2/22/01 Horse-drawn Catapult 3 & 4 Stay in Northport, fortifying. Build junks, recruit sailors. Done. 1 turn left for junk.
Xenophon 2/22/01 Catapult 5 & Scouts 2 Stay in Southburg, training legionnaires-to-be. Done. (1 more turn for the legion)
Xenophon 2/22/01 Scout 1 & Horse-drawn Catapult 1 Finish building junk, recruit sailors Done. Junk can sail tomorrow
Xenophon 2/22/01 Horse-drawn Catapult 2 Stay in Old Leetown, recruit Mounted Scouts. Done (1 more turn for the scouts)
End of 2/22/01

And that’s the end of that turn, so we’ll pick it up next month with the turn dated February 23, 2001.

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