Campaign Mobilization

It was well into the third watch as Queen Celeste gazed sleepily into her bowl of wine. Thoughts swirled as vapors, her hated enemy, the Elector of Capalan was engaged in a war with Mirholme, which meant there would be no raids or invasion from either for some time. The ancient foe of Imperial Tropilium was likewise involved with wars in the East, along the shores of Mare Tropilium. The witch queen of Latona continued to weaken her people and was ripe to be toppled.

However, if Queen Celeste moved on Latona, Asteria would come to their aid. No, if she were ever to unite Valkae under single rule, she would have to conquer the democracy loving Asterians. Ah, but the democracy of Asteria would play into her hands, Queen Hippolyte’s twenty-year term as queen was ending, as well as the terms of the High Admiral of the Fleet and the General of the Armies at the same time. The attention of all of Asteria would be on the Winter Solstice elections.

While Asteria would come to the aid of Latona, Latona would not lift a finger to help the Asterians. With no fear of invasion from any of the nations along the Kimean Sea, Queen Celeste could unleash the entire force of Nycenae, all of her armies and fleets against Asteria. An invasion of her “sister” nation would require careful planning. 

We have a map complete with terrain and settlements. We have tables of troop strength and have assigned ships to their home ports. Using the Solo Campaign Mobilization Rules (SCMR) found in The Solo Wargaming Guide, the next step is for the Nycenaeans to select a beginning strategy for their campaign. I say beginning because there is always an option later in the campaign to change strategy. It may not be a wise option, but it is there.

I put on my tiara (you have one, right?) and step into the role of Queen Celeste as she listens to her advisors. The object is to develop three plans of attack and then roll a 1/2d6 to determine which one the Queen will approve.

Attack Plans

Plan #1 – the Northern Strategy

“Your majesty,” began the high admiral, Parthenia, “with no foreseeable opposition from other nations, we should use the bulk of our fleet and the army to first seize the northern coast of Asteria. Once the coast is ours, we can then sweep both south and westward with our armies.”

The initial plan is to use the fleet to blockade and destroy as many ships as possible in the port cities of Gaithoe and Bliyme while landing an amphibious assault force to lay siege to both cities. Once the troops have been landed, the transports then sail down the Planetakore river to ferry troops across the river to shore up the sieges and capture all settlements along the coast. Once this phase is over, the armies will move southward taking control of the western banks of the Planetkore and establishing bridgeheads to bring in more troops, which will then march westward as the fleet moves southward to conquer all of Asteria.

Plan #2 – the River Strategy

Next to speak was General Kallisto, the queen’s oldest and most cautious general. “Your majesty, the key to conquering Asteria has always been, and will always be, to have absolute control of the Planetakore river. We must take Gaithoe, control the mouth of the river and then seize every bit of land along the banks. Then, and only then, can we even begin to think of advancing on Asteria.”

The main attack is to seize the port city of Gaithoe at all costs. Only when Gaithoe is under Nycenaean control can the smaller ships of the fleet control the Planetakore river. Once the river is clear of Asterian ships, additional armies can be ferried across to take all of the settlements on the Western bank of the river. It is only after establishing absolute control of the river can Nycenae then assemble armies to take the rest of Asteria.

Plan #3 – the Scorched Lightning Strategy

The third plan was advanced by Arianna, a young genral known for aggression on the battlefield, yet in person was a dark mystery. “My queen, all of the plans mentioned so far require much time to topple the capitols of our adversary. We should make the most of their inattention with a direct strike from which they cannot recover. We assemble our armies and strike across the Planetakore in one place, four armies at a time. One army will move North to take Gaithoe while the other three move directly West to Asteria. Every three days four more armies will cross at the same point and do the same.”

This third plan was bold, but also direct. It relied on Nycenae’s strength, her armies, and avoided Asteria’s strength, her navy.

Die RollPlan
1-2Plan #1 – the Northern Strategy
3-4Plan #2 – the River Strategy
5-6Plan #3 – the Scorched Lightning Strategy

Though I like plan #3, I rolled a 2, so Queen Celeste has chosen the more complex Northern Strategy.

Spy Craft

Before developing a defensive strategy, I’m going to roll to see if spies have learned enough of the Nycenaean plans to influence a defensive strategy.

Die RollIntelligence
1-2No intelligence on the enemy’s plans
3-4Something is looming, but have no details
5-6Knows the enemy’s plans to the last detail

By rolling a 3, the Asterians know Queen Celeste is planning something, but do not know any specifics.

However, Medea, the witch queen of Latona, knows exactly what the Nycenaeans are planning.

Defensive Strategy

While SCMR (Solo Campaign Mobilization Rules) states the aggressor must develop at least three attack plans, it also says the defender must develop at least three defensive stratagems.

Since Queen Celeste is timing her invasion to occur on the day of Asterian elections, it is important to point out that the democracy practiced by the ancient Greeks, and by extension, the Amazons of Asteria, was much different than the democracies in our modern world. In other words, only adult Amazon female citizens who own property or a business may vote, and the elections are limited to the city, town, village, or hamlet where the Amazon resides. This means the elections are all local elections, there are no statewide or nationwide elections.

Defense Strategy #1 – Coastal Defense

In this strategy, the fleet is placed on alert and troops are assembled in port cities ready to board transports. Coastal and river patrols are increased.

Defense Strategy #2 – River Defense

It is well known that any invasion must cross the Planetakore river. This strategy doubles the number of ships patrolling the river and watching the mouth of the river. In addition, cavalry and light troops are deployed to patrol the banks of the river.

Defense Strategy #3 – Population Defense

Mobilize troops and station them in cities and towns leaving the militias to defend the smaller settlements. Mobilize the fleet to defend major ports.

The election throws a kink in any defensive strategy of the Asterians by delaying movement of troops until after the election, except for light troops which are typically made up of Amazons who do not own property.

My die roll sucks as I rolled what I think is the worse strategy, the Population Defense. BUT the only reason I think this is a bad strategy is that I already know what the Nycenaeans are going to do. In this case, the die roll keeps me honest, and will no doubt give me several challenges when the invasion commences.

The Plans of Others

The Witch Queen of Latona knows the details of the Nycenaean invasion plans. She could let the Asterians know, for a price of course. However, knowing that the full force of the Nycenaean army and navy will be focused on the invasion of Asteria, the southern and south-eastern coasts of Nycenae will be ripe for raiding and looting.

Initial Mobilization and Reaction

Now we come to the last step in setting up the campaign, after this step the campaign begins. This step determines the timing between when the attacker mobilizes, and the defender reacts. The Solo Wargaming Guide provides us with a table to roll on.

Die RollActions
1Defender begins to mobilize at same time as attacker.
2Defender begins to mobilize 5 days after attacker.
3Defender mobilizes 10 days after attacker.
4Defender begins to mobilize same day attacker crosses border.
5Defender begins to mobilize 3 days after invasion begins.
6Defender begins to mobilize 5 days after invasion begins.

I didn’t roll too bad, this time. The Asterian spy network will detect the mobilization of the Nycenaeans 10 days after the first troops begin massing for attack.

The preparation is done! Next time we use our map, a calendar, and a weather chart to create the “war journal” documenting the events of the campaign.

This is a lot of work for a tabletop game. I’m used to just putting figures on a table and playing a battle without much thought to the logistics of getting troops to the battlefield. It’s interesting and fun at this point but will have to see if it is still enjoyable once the bookkeeping begins in earnest.

What are your thoughts on wargaming campaigns? Were they enjoyable, or did they become a chore? Just a cursory glance of the Floozy’s dirty house and you will see she is somewhat averse to chores.

The “Iron Queen’s War” posts so far:

  1. Making a Darn Good Game More Complicated
  2. The Outline Map
  3. Adding Terrain to the Map
  4. Armies and Navies
  5. Campaign Mobilization – this post

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Campaign Mobilization post

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One thought on “Campaign Mobilization

  1. I enjoy campaigns. More so doing solo ones. I tend to have a few pages of notes or notes from an established ruleset.
    I do find that setup and breakdown of the table the most tedious. Though I tend to do so before writing out my notes of the game. I do it that way because I tend to make more of a story’ish layout of how the battle went, the major/minor heros (the “no-way-that-worked…/crazy rolls of the dice/) and then fleshing it out even more with the force returning to camp/city.
    I find myself wanting to go at it again that way. I also tend to tweak the flow of the campaign based on how the battle went and the story of the post fight…do they have fund to recruit more people…did wealthy “X” person stay by their word to offer up money…or did a someone attempt to seduce a named hero…etc. So then I look forward to the next progress of the hero’s, the royality, the minor/major players….and the next fight and the rolls of the dice.

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