Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Welcome to Francesia

Pictured here is a map of the island of Francesia, an imaginary realm for solo wargame campaigns. 

I drew the map while Hurricane Frances was howling overhead in 2004, hence the name . Actually, the original map consisted of three large islands (Francesia being one of these islands) and one small one (Cragcoast, shown on the bottom of map). There was one island to the east and one to the south of Francesia but those maps have been lost to the ravages of time.

Francesia itself is divided into various countries, "imaginatively" named after the color of their uniforms. Redgrave and the Empire of Silverfern were the main antagonists. The Empire included a reluctant province, Drakendorf (the name came from an earlier attempt at a campaign map. I ditched the map but kept the name because I liked it). There were three smaller realms – Bluderia, Sylvania (later changed to Greenglade), and Grayrock. For purposes of the campaigns, these three were united under the Bluderian crown.

At the time, I was looking for a very simple campaign mechanism to give some meaning to solo battles I was fighting with some Irregular 2mm miniatures. Eventually, I decided to adapt the rules of the Avalon Hill classic, Diplomacy. I divided Francesia into provinces; some of which were designated as resource centers. Each realm had a number of armies equal to the resource centers they controlled. Silverfern, Bulderia, and Redgrave began with three resource centers each. Drakendorf, with two centers, was technically part of the Empire, but I decided that the Duke would act autonomously. I plotted the moves for Redgrave (later, my sympathies would shift and I began plotting for the Empire), while I randomly determined the moves of the other countries. I would transfer resulting battles to the tabletop, designating each army as consisting of 6 units. Each supporting army would contribute an additional 3 units to the battle. The type of unit (infantry, cavalry, or artillery) was determined by dice rolls. I then fought out the battle in miniature, with the loser being forced to withdraw from the province. The key to the campaign was that I did not play out all the combats as this created a slew of battles. Instead, I would choose the most interesting battle of the campaign season and play it out. The other battles would be determined by the standard Diplomacy rules. The system actually worked quite well and a stirring campaign with several battles resulted.

I have decided to resurrect this campaign, using new figures and rules. I am in the planning stages at the moment but I’m looking forward to unleashing the dogs of war soon. In the meantime, I’ll be making some posts about the history of Francesia.

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